Directed by Vivek Krishnan
Starring Ashwani Kumar, Shardul Bhardwaj, Kritika Pande, Devesh Chobe, Jijoy,
Anurag Uhra and Shivam Parekh
Short Film Review by Michael Fiott
Without Cheese is a stylistic light drama that tells the mystery of a man named Shivam
Parekh and his untimely death. It begins when we see a customer named Sam sat in a
fast food restaurant brilliantly named ‘Cheeses Christ’. As he enjoys his food, a stranger
(Ashwani Kumar) informs him of Shivam and begins to tell the entire story and his involvement.
From the first word of this ten minute short we are intrigued, it develops at it’s own
brilliant pace and dictates our thoughts and feelings with a mixture of melancholy music
and slightly humorous subject matter. Vivek Krishnan achieves this by using an array of different
shots, not just restricting his vision to an ‘over the shoulder’ angle, which is
commendable given that the film mostly consists of a conversation between two
characters. Instead, he shows his creativity by using two shots, close ups and panning shots which
keeps us invested in every word. The performances are also very believable, with it
being difficult to pick a line that feels in any way fake, it all manages to feel very real and
delivered with a great amount of humble charm, this is of course helped along by the
very well written dialogue.
Although, I do think that these positives are greatly enhanced by what I consider to be
the best aspect of the filmmaking; its use of music. It completely guides us through the story
and sets the right emotional ques at the right times, beginning with an acapella folk
song, moving into a soft acoustic piece that is gently whispered to us, a rejuvenating
guitar piece and finally finishing with a film noir esque ballad from times gone by.
However, with all of these positives, Without Cheese is not without criticism as the sound
recording sometimes can falter. While dialogue for the most part is clear, it does
generally feel like a quiet film, this is not helped when the music is played at a higher
volume than the dialogue making it sometimes a struggle to hear what is going on and
subsequently results in the audience finding it hard to follow the plot.
In regards to its plot, it does at times feel convoluted leaving the audience with a lot of
questions, which by all means could have been a purposeful effect, with the opening
segment stating that the film was based on events that happened to Vivek and people
he knew, “all of whom are liars”.
Whilst the film is not without flaws it is certainly still worth a watch in terms of its craft, it
rarely falls flat in its pacing and even after a few watches never truly feels like a chore, a
great effort from Krishnan.