Best Short film award

ताल बेताल (Taal Betal)

Film by Sanchay Bose, Pramathyu Shukla, Shubham Sengupta and Rudraksh Pathak
Mentor Arjun Gourisaria

Jury Citation:

‘Taal Betal’ is laudable as it uses the strength of film’s visual storytelling to reveal the devastating impact of urban development on water bodies and the lives that depend on them. Through an investigation of Jabalpur’s lakes, we experience the impact of pollution on the livelihood of the Singharia community, originally water chestnut farmers, who have now turned to fishing — which is also then affected by the lack of oxygen in the water.

It is a very well-structured and legible film, a documentary that recalls the fact that Jabalpur’s lakes were made for its citizens, a progressive urban planning move. The film calls out to viewers to take more care of our waterways and the layers of life that depend on them – including our own.


The Golden Fish

Film by Avadhoot Potdar, Akanksha Gupta and Akshata Dalvi
Mentor: Arjun Gourisaria

Jury Citation:

‘The Golden Fish’ is commendable as a testament to livelihood as ‘disruption’ in an urbanscape. It illustrates, quite beautifully, how Goa – with its unique geography and society – has been
negatively impacted by the floating casinos and their influence. The insights into the life of the young North-Eastern women who work in the casinos are sensitive and evoke questions of “localness” in a cosmopolitan state like Goa.

The use of opulent visuals of the casinos and their branding, as contrasted with disembodied voices for locals, is representative of the way that the industry has now taken up space that once belonged to the city. The women who work on the casino boats are objectified, the locals are ignored, and a kleptocratic system perpetuates exploitation and alienation. The boats themselves are operated by people that are from a different part of the nation, servicing alien crowds that come in from other states and countries, a disconnect between the two worlds. The film also illustrates issues that can be reversed, through advocacy and policy, exemplifying film’s ability to raise public awareness.


दारुडी (Darudi)

Film by Atish Indrekar and Ruchika Chhara
Mentor: Sanjiv Shah

Jury Citation:

‘Darudi’ is commendable as it does the hard work of giving voice to a community stigmatised as a criminal tribe by the colonial administration, a burden they carry until today, and of opposing views around the hidden world of distilling alcohol in Chharanagar, in the city of Ahmedabad. It is an uncomfortable story, in the best tradition of documentary filmmaking, that forces viewers to confront historic injustice, an inheritance from colonial times that still continues to circumscribe and constrain. The narrative, largely through song, is intricately crafted and inter-woven with interviews to convey a sense of anguish and disempowerment.

‘Darudi’ provides an intimate experience of how people born into and living in this state of injustice must grapple with the quandary of doing ‘right or wrong’ while pursuing the right to a livelihood that takes care of one’s family and children.


An Ordinary Day

Film by Aakash Chhabra, Snigdha Sharma, Vedant, Om Prakash and Koushik Tamilmaran
Mentor: Rajula Shah

Jury Citation:

‘An Ordinary Day’ is acknowledged for presenting a deeply personal and moving take on the livelihood crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The melancholic tone and the stark aesthetic of the yarn recycling facility were incredibly effective. While there was a single voice and a single story, the film spoke for so many more people, across cities in India who faced this crashing devastation in livelihood, migration and economic chaos.


Partnership Below Par

Film by Aman Jajoria and Simran Raswant
Mentor: Bina Paul

Partnership Below Par is a documentary that explores the story of four delivery “partners” as they navigate through the millennium city of Gurugram (previously known as Gurgaon), questioning how the city facilitates their ability to earn a living along with their stakes in this “partnership” within the gig economy.


Moin Khan for the film यह वक़्त हमारा है (The Present is Ours)

By Bhawna Jaimini and Moin Khan
Mentor: Sanjiv Shah

Shot through the lens of Moin Khan – a young rapper and an aspiring filmmaker, the film explores the challenges, struggles and triumphs of him and his neighbours in Govandi, Mumbai. It looks at how the Muslim youth are negotiating within their homes, where cultural norms and financial limitations dictate their aspirations, as well as outside in the city – where spatial boundaries dictate not just their present but their socio-economic future. It attempts to bring out how opportunity and aspiration intersects with cultural and spatial identity of people of Govandi, dictating their present and future.