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Dhundh short film review

Directed by: #ShivamSharma

Written by: Shivam Sharma

A title card reading 'Dhundh' which also shows two versions of the same man looking at one another. One is sitting, blood smeared across his face, the other lying on a bed afraid.

It’s hard to say where to begin because despite the narrative behind Dhundh it's a film that doesn’t really go anywhere. Writer-Director Shivam Sharma wants to delve deep into the psychology of guilt, as his protagonist Danish portrayed by Aryan Dhingra is tormented by past actions. The script, however, follows very familiar ideas, leaving the experience derivative and unrewarding, as Dhundh bears a lot of similarities to films like ‘The Machinist’. Danish as a character and narrative focus is underdeveloped, we are placed within his story but there is no desire to support him in his quest to understand what is happening to him.

Dhingra’s performance through Sharma’s direction doesn’t do much to help, lots of Dhundh consists of Dhingra either heavy breathing or handwriting to symbolise anguish and distress. It’s clear that the Danish character is not a sociopath but there’s no opportunity to understand who this man really is. A lot of the film has Danish interrogated either by the police or a therapist, targeting the conscious and subconscious of his character, a recurring theme of the film. Sharma’s script, however, lacks the necessary depth to make the ideas compelling, everything to Dhundh is one note all the way to its underwhelming reveal to Danish’s conflict.

The filmmaking itself is uninteresting, nothing about Sharma’s vision for his character’s struggle felt unique and Dhundh quickly becomes a slog to get through despite being less than twenty minutes. The beginning of the film teases a more psychological approach in its visuals with two versions of Danish staring at one another, one covered in blood, the other terrific by the sight of himself. Sharma never follows through on this imagery, keeping us rooted in mediocrity as the film goes from one scene to the next, the editing never creating any urgency to Danish’s situation. For a film exploring consequences, Dhundh never makes the audience feel the pressure for Danish’s actions, its clear something terrible has happened and it's eating away at him but Sharma struggles to bring the viewer in to empathises with the experience.

With very little to begin with, Dhundh meanders to the end with no memorable impact, as Sharma’s intentions for the story are let down by poor scripting, dull performances and lack of creative flair. The story while predictable has been done better by other filmmakers, and this film offers no original or creative alternative in how it explores Danish’s plight.



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