Directed by: #SudiptoNag
Written by: #SudiptoNag
The influence of the arthouse film—grit and realism of sombre everyday life made painstakingly romantic yet drab—bleeds through as the likes of novice emulation in this short film about a director (Sudipto) and his crew following a poor man’s man, Gulla (Mehtab) and his bicycle through the back ends of a city without much direction except to follow along.
It’s a film that uses a broad brush to paint broad strokes while trying to pass for faux realism—a kind of reality docu-film, except in trying to capture the essence of films that the director finds inspiring, like Spike Jonez’s Her and Jafar Panahi’s Closed Curtain, without the passion to carry the project forward, the nuances of narrative purpose and direction are lost to the people behind—and in front of—the camera (this in itself, is a narrative direction).
Gulla Ebong Gullar Ghora presents itself as a meta-narrative film about filmmaking while also catching a glimpse of the protagonist’s struggle in finding employment and, subsequently, how the world views employment as the crux of meaningful direction in life.
The choice to shoot the ‘film’ aspects in black and white, and the 'filmmaking' aspects of the film in colour, helps distinguish between which sides of the docu-film we’re witnessing, but sadly, it also detracts from the beautifully deep contrasts and almost timeless feel of the black and white filter.
Aimlessness, in terms of both Gulla’s drive in life and the film’s lack of chosen direction, makes for palpable thematic elements which help bolster each other to newer, much more visceral heights. And that is where the film shines; in reflecting the protagonist’s listless disposition with the film's lack of an overall arc.
Gulla doesn’t understand the appeal of following a regular man (himself) around town with a camera, the only acting he’s given is not to act, but simply do. It is this interesting contrast between a man trying to understand what type of people—from which class and background—would waste their time making art films when, as he states, more people would rather watch ‘porn’ than the film he’s in.
These observations of character turn this film into a culture study as well as a meta-narrative. It showcases the landscape and people while moving around as aimlessly as Gulla. The problem then stems from the fact that the film tries to do too much with limited time, like the jarring music sequence; or the detracting colour shots of the narrative on the filmmaking process.
Gulla Ebong Gullar Ghora may not be a masterpiece, but it is an intriguing window into the minds of the ‘lost generation’.