Updated: Jan 6
Written & Directed by #PrabhakarMeenaBhaskarPant
Produced by: Deep Ajwani
Chumbak is a 2017 short film written and directed by Prabhakar Meena Bhaskar Pant, it takes place on New Years Eve, a night that will prove to be pivotal in an Indian couple’s life. Chumbak translates to ‘magnets’, which refers to our couple: Kavita and Sambit Patil. Although these two come from different walks of life, like magnets, they were drawn to one another. This film takes us on a 10 minute journey where we try to understand what sparked the events of that fateful night. And just when you think you’ve understood... you realise you haven’t.
In regards to the performances, I don’t have a single complaint. All three cast members played their roles amazingly, although the stand out was Suruchi Aulakh, who plays the lead role of Kavita. Aulakh was able to handle this role, which must have been an emotionally demanding one, with grace and she performed with a sense of truthfulness that was touching.
Additionally, the soundtrack is superb! The main feature is Aisa Lagaya Dil Tumse Maine, sung by Simi Bisht, this is actually a ghazal, which is more of a poem than a song, but it is truly beautiful and so are the lyrics. They’re hard to translate exactly to English but (with A LOT of help from my mum) I managed to do so. It is a love poem, essentially about two loves becoming one, one of the lyrics states ‘your tears, your sorrows have become mine also’. When you think about the words, this ghazal was a perfect pick for Chumbak.
Another superb element in this film was the cinematography, the use of filters was clearly thought out to help juxtapose the moments in Kavita and Sambit’s relationship. Everything that occurs in the current moment is dull, grey and lifeless, but the memories that Kavita goes through are radiant and golden. In this way the cinematography really aided in the telling of the story.
I watched Chimbak with my headphones in, not for any reason in particular, but in doing so I got to experience how much effort obviously went into the sound design. If you are going to watch this film, watch it with headphones! The use of binaural sound was incredible and not something you see very much in films generally, I suppose because unless you have your headphones in or have very high quality speakers, you wouldn’t notice it. Because binaural sound isn’t commonly used, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was utilised in Chumbak. Binaural sound is essentially sound that is traditionally recorded with two microphones so that it can be transmitted separately or differently to each ear of a listener. Which is pretty cool and I appreciate how much effort was made for the audio in this film.
Prabhakar Meena Bhaskar Pant has managed to create and orchestrate a story that was so poignant, in a way that I never expected. I was gripped for the entirety of the film, wanting to know what happened, why and how it was going to end. I almost wish the film was longer! Or that I could have seen more of what happened after that night. However, you know a film is good when it leaves you wanting for more, and all they needed for that was 10 outstanding minutes.
An important note to make is that Chumbak does contain some very serious and sensitive themes, so be aware of that beforehand if you’re going to watch this, which I thoroughly recommend you do. The fact that Pant decided to tell a story that incorporated such tough themes is commendable, generally in South Asian culture and media, important taboo subjects are not mentioned and are simply ignored but Chumbak does the exact opposite. I’d like to see more of what Pant has made.