Directed by: Siddharth Chauhan
Written by: Melissa L. White, Siddharth Chauhan
Starring: Shefali Chauhan, Richa Rathore and Anil Walia
This is a short film done by a prolific director. Siddharth Chauhan has gotten a lot of attention for his various shorts that have all explored Indian/Asian culture, such as The Infinite Space and Boys Don’t Wear Nailpolish! Catch the Light is his latest, but it does not entirely manage to catch greatness.
The plot revolves around a woman named Kanika (Shefali Chauhan) in an Indian family who must deal with Sanjay (Anil Walia), her strict grandfather, and her growing romantic relationship with another woman named Sameera (Richa Rathore).
Story-wise, this film can be split up into two halves of differing quality. The first 10 minutes feel all over the place and hard to pinpoint, as they show scenes that certainly establish various story elements but do not flow together well. There is also a story element that feels ultimately unnecessary and does not get a good payoff, that being Kanika’s slowly growing blindness. It gets established at the beginning but afterwards barely comes up again.
But the last 10 minutes are coherent and flow together much better, culminating in a very emotional ending. This second half is more effective, making one see the first half in a better light, though it does make you wish that it had been more compelling to begin with. The short overall would have been stronger if it were extended to 30 minutes, just to give more time to the growing relationship between Kanika and Sameera, which feels like it goes from a simple friendship to a romance too fast. The same can be said for the consequences of this relationship, which is also dealt with too quickly.
Technically, the biggest issue by far is the sound mixing. The camera quality and cinematography are both decent, with a good look and good camerawork that is understated yet notable, but the sound quality is terrible. Whilst not hard to hear, the dialogue sounds untouched and like camera audio that was recorded on the day. It serves as a constant distraction from the solid performances that the actors are giving, with Shefali Chauhan being pretty good, especially at the end.
Catch the Light contains a flawed if still decent story that comes together well by the end, but the weak sound mixing brings it down. It is just about saved by the good acting and emotional ending, making it an effective film but still not a successful one.