While we all adore the classic rom-coms with their predictable happy endings, there's an undeniable satisfaction in films where relationships take a detour from the conventional route. Whether it's attractive pairings or dysfunctional couples showcasing human flaws, these movies provide an adrenaline rush, challenging the notion that love always triumphs.
Geet Gangwani's 20-minute LGBTQIA+ dramedy, 'Pav Bhaji,' offers a complex narrative that skillfully knits together elements of suspense, humour, and poignant reflections on relationships. As the film unfolds, it becomes evident that beneath the seemingly mundane backdrop of a married couple's daily life lies a profound exploration of miscommunication, personal identities, and the unforeseen consequences of unchecked arrogance.
The first 15 minutes of the short film serve as a deliberate build-up, withholding the crucial revelations until the climax. Yet, this deliberate pacing does not leave the audience disengaged. Instead, it invites them to observe the intricate dynamics between the central characters, Jyogesh (Aakash Ahuja) and Jyotika (Rupali Rahul), a married couple navigating the complexities of an unsettled union.
Jyogesh, portrayed with an "I-know-it-all" arrogance, prides himself on his ability to manipulate others in his professional life. However, the film masterfully exposes the vulnerability beneath this facade, as his controlled existence unravels with a mysterious phone call. His world, built on the illusion of control, crumbles when faced with an element he cannot manipulate – the intentions of his own wife.
The inclusion of seemingly mundane elements like hiccups and pav bhaji takes on a profound significance. The conflict between the couple, symbolised by the husband's attempt to surprise his wife with pav bhaji, serves as a microcosm of their larger issues. His well-intentioned gesture becomes a catalyst for highlighting the underlying miscommunication and disregard for his wife's wishes. It's not just about the pav bhaji; it's about the deeper chasm in their understanding of each other.
The constant hiccups afflicting Jyotika throughout the film serve as a symbolic representation of her internal conflict, a manifestation of her suppressed feelings and unspoken desires. The more she conceals her true self, the more pronounced the hiccups become. In a clever narrative twist, the tables turn, and the final hiccup belongs to the husband, signifying the unexpected turns that relationships can take.
Geet Gangwani, the writer, director, and producer of 'Pav Bhaji, lays out the film's genius which lies in its portrayal of a couple at odds – one exuding arrogance while the other grapples with unspoken guilt. The collision of these contrasting personalities results in a revelation that challenges preconceived notions about knowing someone intimately. It's a subtle yet powerful lesson in the fragility of assumptions and the depths that lie beneath the surface of even the closest relationships.
While 'Pav Bhaji' addresses serious issues within the institution of marriage and relationships, it does so with a perfect blend of humour and drama. The short film provides entertainment, leaving the audience with smiles and chuckles, but it also prompts introspection about the complexities inherent in human connections.
The success of 'Pav Bhaji' is not only evident in its compelling narrative told by Gangwani but also in the accolades it has garnered during its 2-year festival run. Having triumphed at various festivals globally, the shortfilm has secured an impressive tally of 10 awards and 14 selections. Now, with its release on the OTT platform Jio Cinema,'Pav Bhaji' reaches a broader audience who can view this entertaining and thought-provoking short film at their own leisure.
Catch the Dramedy Short Film, 'Pav Bhaji', on YouTube below.
You can also follow Geet Gangwani here.
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