Ek Raat (Hin)

May
26

Director: Aamreeta Gautam
Duration: 14 min 11 sec
Genre: Horror, Drama
Synopsis: A villager crossing a notorious jungle meets a stranger in the night.

Shot on: Sony DSR 400
Shooting Format: DV
Edited with: Final Cut Express
Approximate budget: Rs 10000/-
Completed in: March 2010

Watch the Short



Editorial Review

Reviewed by Ansh Pallyal
Warning: This review contains spoilers.
What really makes this short click is the folklore milieu that it has adopted to tell the story. By avoiding the urban setting and also 'ghost mansions,' film maker has been able to give a different feel to it. The central image does stick- that of the lonely ghost on the bullock cart helping wayfarers in the jungle.

Obviously the greatest strength of 'Ek Raat' is the twist and how well it is executed. But the cost the writers paid for it is the inconsistency in the character of the ghost and the stranger. If Chandru is the ghost why is he so scared while travelling through the night? He starts at every sound, repeatedly talks to himself trying to allay his fear of the ghosts etc. It is easy to understand that it was done this way to increase the level of surprise at the end. Here writers take an easy way out -instead of building his behaviour in the jungle in a way that it plays either way i.e. in the first viewing it appears as if he is this scared villager but when you go back to it after the reveal in the end, his behaviour is still consistent to that of a ghost roaming in the jungle. In the same way, there is a shift in the behaviour of the stranger too. While with chandru in the jungle, he appears calm, playful, unaffected by the scary situation. The next day he appears as an earnest, down to earth character who is not able to hide his emotions. This was also something that writers could have worked on- making him scary when actually he is the same earnest, sincere down to earth character rather than changing the character to suit the situation.

The structure of the movie has been well laid out. After showing a conversation between Chandru and the shopkeeper in the beginning, the transition to his journey through the jungle (which is actually one year later) has been smoothly done. A crucial creative choice that the writers made is in showing that conversation in the beginning before the journey in the jungle. Because otherwise, if the story started with Chandru travelling through the jungle, at least some viewers could have anticipated the twist.

Whenever secondary characters were introduced (in the beginning and in the end) the short falls flat. Could be related to the bad acting and poor dialogue delivery of the other supporting characters. The midsection (jungle scene) is well written too. Especially the (phoney) subtext of the dialogues of the stranger where it feels like these are the words of a ghost. Also the shots have been executed well to impart that eeriness-ex: stranger suddenly opening his eyes, the approaching shot of the stranger when chandru is waiting for him and dozing off, the angle where he is always smiling and staring at Chandru from behind etc.

The acting of Mukesh Ghatiya (the stranger) also plays no small part in making that jungle scene work. He does show that he can exhibit a wide repertoire of expressions convincingly especially in the later scene in the next day. Abhijit Purohit (Chandru) also is able to hold his fort but others are disappointing and often pull the short down. Good work has been done in terms of using the colloquial language. But still the dialogues that the characters deliver doesn't appear authentic. A reason could be that care was not given to the intonations while using the raw rural jargon.

In the jungle sequence, lighting has been well used and scene palette doesn’t feel artificial. Also the back ground sounds and scores used in the jungle has been done well. Only problem is that sometimes it is overdone. There is no respite at any point. It is forgotten that scariest sound is silence if it is properly punctuated with sound effects and background score.

Often the reaction shots linger giving a discernible gap in the dialogues between different characters especially in the initial part. A tighter editing would certainly have improved this short. In that aspect, there is a marked inconsistency in terms of quality in different parts of this short. The best part is the last scene where the biker meets Chandru. There is so much economy of shots there that every shot counts. One doesn’t see even the scared face of the wayfarer- but only that of the torch rising. For me, the shot of the torch rolling and the light finally resting on the hooves of the ox is the most imaginative shot of the whole short.

While chandru is travelling in the night, the position of the lantern and the tinge of it's light (up and down/ yellow and white) often changes. Especially during the initial converstation between Chandru and the stranger, the tinge of the lamp is different between Chandru and stranger. While conversing with Chandru, the shop keeper has a sudden shift in his position and activity (at around 2 minutes). The death scene of Chandru was very wooden. His final struggle didn't appear natural. It appeared as if he was co-operating with his own murder. The absence of wide shots there also didn't help.

Title credits were okay. The problem is that with this kind of genre, even the font is not something new. And the graphics overdid it a little bit giving it a 'tv masala' feel.

The Making of Ek Raat
Director Bio

This is my second attempt on short film. By profession I am a software engineer but at heart I am a story teller or more appropriately a story finder - I find that every small thing in life has a wonderful story to tell. Life in the corporate world is hectic and stressful. For me thinking and dreaming stories is a great stress buster. I try to bring the same stories out to everyone via my films hoping that it will provide even brief moments of entertainment, lifting their thoughts away from the regular preoccupations. I love the challenge that short films provide to filmmakers in having to tell a complete story in a meaningful way in just a few minutes. Film making for me is not just a hobby, it is a way to express myself, it is a way of life.

Cast Bio

Abhijeet Purohit: Abhijeet has worked in couple of Kannada serials and films. This his first short fim though.
Mukesh Ghatiya: Mukesh owns an advertizing agency and acting is his passion.

Crew Bio

Girish Kant (cinematographer): Girish passed out from Govt. film and Television institute in Bangalore .He is currently working in Kannada film industry as associate cinematographer with renowned cinematographers like H.M. Ramchandra, Ashok V Raman, Guruprashant Rai etc.

Director's Statement

The shoot for Ek Raat was done at the forest of Hesserghatta Bangalore. We shot through the entire night 24 hours nonstop. I still wonder how I reached back home at 5 am. I have absolutely no recollection. The forest was so scary at night that we were almost certain we would meet some real ghosts that night.

There was a tarred road through the jungle where sometimes vehicles were passing. Once a car was coming, and Alok and Arun who were dressed as dacoits suddenly came out of the forest . The driver of the car really thought they were actual robbers and started screaming. Hearing the commotion we all rushed to the scene and assured the person that we were just shooting and they were just actors.

Contact Info

E-mail: aamreeta@gmail.com
Phone: 9886520891

Average Rating by Registered Users

+++++++---
Score: 7.0, Votes: 1

1 User Review

Ek Raat : Another short film delivered by Aamreeta Gautam. I have seen few of her short films in past and liked her style of direction.
The good thing about her movies is the focus on minute details.
This short film is about the night in the jungle and story of its character "chandru".
There are two things I liked most
1. The language the character speaking and the way they are pronouncing the words like the people of northern villages do.
2. The sound effects in between dialogs which increases the excitement.

The only thing can be said negative is there is a fraction delay in the delievery of dialogs here and there but apart from this a very good movie to watch.
May we see some more like this from her in future

Cheers !!
Shailesh

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