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Makaram 20, 1194: Short Film Review

★★★ Stars

Directed by: #ShyamNarayananTK

Written by: #ShyamNarayananTK

This image shows two of the main characters in a still from the film itself, surrounded by a cloud effects placed on the boarder of the image. The colours of the effects are blended together - orange, white, red, purple, blue.

Makaram 20, 1194 is a short film set in the 1940s, presenting a slightly unusual but very intriguing idea of time travel. The title matches a date in the Malayalam calendar, which in the Gregorian calendar is February 3, 2019. This short is centred around a young couple, Sreedharan (Vineeth Vasudevan) and Savithri (Anusree Madhavan,) who are struggling to take care of their troublesome nephew (Tharun Parameswaran;) they find it difficult to discipline him appropriately and calm him down as he runs around the home breaking almost everything that can be broken. The film travels with this aunt and uncle on their journey of discovery surrounding time travel, how they can use it and what they can accomplish through the act.

The concept is incredibly interesting, possessing many small details throughout to keep the plot lively. An example of this can be seen through Sreedharan as he carries home a wide range of different books linked to the concept of time travel, planting a visual of where the film may take its audience from an early stage. Within the array of texts, he mentions an article by a ‘young person called VN Thekkeppattu’ which I thought was a beautiful touch within the writing. VN Thekkeppattu was the pen name of a young M. T. Vasudevan Nair, an Indian author who is a prolific and versatile writer in modern Malayalam literature and is one of the masters of post-independence Indian literature. This was not only a beautiful addition to the script, but it is also an important one as it helps to solidify the time period that the characters are set in at the beginning of the film.

The writing, by Shyam Narayanan TK, is overall really well presented. The audience is entirely gripped by a script that isn’t specific on what the film is trying to reveal. The language used isn’t forward or defined – the characters speak to each other as individuals would do outside of the realm of film, they speak freely and without a large contextual meaning to their sentences. This can be perfectly seen through the line “it’s only the small Kunchunni that we can’t punish, right?” At this point in the film, viewers have been given enough clues to grasp the idea of time travel that may be carried forward and this line brilliantly confirms any suspicions of the plot without stating it directly. The writing of this short film is definitely its most praiseworthy element and worth watching for.

MT Vineeth Bhaskar’s cinematography is captivating to watch. Each scene is clear to the eye and each component within the frame can be seen without any struggle or confusion, everything is precise in its own way. It is quite a simple style of cinematography but the simplicity matches the film completely. I also wanted to comment on the use of different camera perspectives throughout the short – one moment viewers can be gazing upon the situation unfolding from their own ‘audience member perspective’ and then the point of view smoothly changes to that of the characters, pushing viewers into the character’s shoes. This aspect adds to the excitement felt as the plot progresses.

Makaram 20, 1194 is a great watch; a thoroughly enjoyable experience with an immersive atmosphere. The characters present a wonderful sense of thrill with a few laughs to be had throughout as well.



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