List, The (2014)

India / 23 minutes / color with a little bw / ESMM Dir & Cine: Prakhar Sharma Scr: Aarav Yadav, Prakhar Sharma Cast: Akash Kapur, Shiva Sharma, Anurag Sah, Karan Surana, Ishan Agrawal.

The List 2014 - 0 opener

A mysterious undercover operative (Sharma) arrives in Chennai and receives instructions to contact Akash Kapur (Kapur), a geeky physics student at the city’s Orbit University. This he duly does, eventually persuading the friendless youth that his professor in nuclear physics, Srinivasan (Sah), is an ex-Indian government scientist who stole some nuclear secrets to auction off to the highest bidder. What those secrets actually are is not especially significant; the real prize is the list that Srinivasan must have somewhere of the details of the auction bidders. It’s this list that Continue reading

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Impossible Murder, The (2010)

India / 81 minutes / color with some bw / Indie Farm Dir & Pr & Scr: Sareesh Sudhakaran Cine: J. Shanmuganathan, Ajit Naik Cast: Tarun Singh Negi, Swati Shetty, Ajay Gatlewar, Prakash Jha, Hemu Adhikari, Prema Sakhardande, Arvind Wahi, Thressiamma Mathew, Minnakshi Das, Surya Rao, Ajay Tripathi, Raj Kishore Verma, Rakesh Kumar, Sandeep Solaskar, Lalitendu Paikray, Rahul Patil, Mahesh Sharma, Ravi Raaj Patel.

Impossible Murder - closer

An indie movie of really quite extraordinary interest, showing a remarkable sophistication of technique in its visual storytelling as well as a screenplay that presents us with something that’s hard enough to pull off on the printed page, let alone on the screen: a genuinely challenging locked-room mystery. At one point our voiceover narrator (Patel) makes reference to John Dickson Carr’s The Hollow Man (1935; vt The Three Coffins) as the greatest locked-room mystery of all time—an evaluation with which many would concur. This movie is certainly up to Carr’s general standard; one can imagine him applauding it mightily. A little known but very good cast, some of whom share their names with their characters, add to the conviction of the presentation.

Impossible Murder - 1 Parvati wakes outside her mistress's door

Parvati (Swati Shetty) wakes outside her mistress’s door.

In the early morning of July 19 2006 an elderly woman, Maria D’Silva (Mathew), was murdered in her locked bedroom in her house on the outskirts of a small village. The only person on the premises was her longstanding live-in maid Parvati (Shetty), who was sleeping on the floor across her door. Hearing cries of distress from within the room, Parvati summoned Continue reading

Femme Fatale (2013)

India / 24½ minutes / bw with color (mainly red) highlighting / Incendiary Dir & Cine: Raj Sampad Pr & Story: Shilpi Sampad Cast: Nikkie Gargi, Debi Prasad Sahu, Nisha Kabi.

Femme Fatale 2013 - 01 opener

The Girl in Red (Nikkie Gargi).

A short neonoirish movie with considerable visual style and flair, made and set in Bhubaneswar, capital of the Indian state of Odisha.

The Girl in Red (Gargi), a beautiful but seemingly somewhat shallow young woman who lives on her own in an apartment in a rather isolated building, is being stalked by a sinister man whom she dubs Mr. Freakshow (Sahu) when describing her fears of him to her Friend (Kabi). In due course she and The Friend become sufficiently creeped out about what’s going on (“Remember what happened to Chitra the other day”) that she reluctantly borrows a gun lent by Continue reading