Directed by: #VaibhavGhodeswar
Cheers! is a short film written and directed by Vaibhav Ghodeswar that, despite its name, portrays a very sad story. It follows Prakash Waghmare’s (Rajesh Ambulkar) last day as he prepares for his suicide. Prakas is a farmer who is unable to cope with his financial troubles and the shame it brings.
We are introduced to Prakash as he ties a rope to a tree in order to hang himself.
The #cinematography in this scene, done by Azam Karnik who also worked on the sound and editing, is visually stunning and carries depth. Before we see Prakash, the camera lingers on the landscape – it is vast, somewhat beautiful, but more importantly, it is empty. Prakash is a farmer who lost his money and failed to recover it through his work - the landscape shows us how big and isolating it is, the grandness Prakash is against. Moreover, Prakash is shown at the corner of the frame, he is small and insignificant compared to the grandiosity of the land. The camera moves smoothly showing us Prakash’s care when preparing the rope – this sequence packs an ambiguity because although it is a beautiful shot, the action it is depicting is painfully heartbroken. Not only that, the cinematography goes a step further confusing us with its incessant movements – almost like Prakash feels – he is confused and his inert position reminds him, and us, that the world will keep on moving despite his, and ours, immobility.
However, Prakash decides not to end his life and takes the rope down. At the same time, his friend, Santosh comes to him to ask for his help – he needs to pull out a dead pig that has fallen into a well. Prakash helps him using the rope he didn’t use before – now instead of ending a life, the rope is being used to fix something, regardless that the object is a dead pig. We soon learn that the idea of suicide did not leave Prakash’s mind, he has simply postponed it. In exchange for his help, he is offered money but turns it down since he won’t have any use of it.
Our protagonist accepts to have a drink with his brother – rum, even though it is expensive. Unbeknownst to Santosh, the drink is Prakash’s goodbye. He drains bottles of whiskey and adds old pesticide to make sure his plan will succeed.
Ghodeswar’s short film is beautifully intense. We don’t know much about Prakash, therefore the audience is not engaged in stopping him, but rather we want him to succeed. Ambulkar’s portrayal of desperate Prakash is exceptional – he is not over the top, he moves delicately illustrating how fragile and hopeless he is. Ambulkar is portraying a man who breathes but no longer exists.
Although there were some problems with the sound and the subtitles, they did not spoil the film for me. I was able to get into the story and deeply feel for the character in mere 22 minutes. And that shows that Vaibhav Ghodeswar did a very good job directing this short.