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average rating is 2 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Dec 3, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Shourya Kumar Lal
Written by:
Shourya Kumar Lal, Rachit Verma
Charles Patel, Vidisha Khandelwal

Love is often found where we least expect it. Be it the girl you once sat next to in history class, or the person you see everyday filing paper in the office, or maybe it’s simply a chance encounter as you both make your way to school, college, or work. Such is the case with ‘Rickshaw’, a short film, which focuses more on the construct, the idea of love, rather than love itself, and how this can differ between different people. This should provide firm grounds for a strong, potentially heartbreaking story, however, instead the film is poorly written and melodramatic in its romance, leaving much to be desired.


‘Rickshaw’ follows Kartik (Charles Patel), as he reminisces on a spell of unrequited love for Meera (Vidisha Khandewal). Kartik, sat on a storage container on a lonely evening with his friend as they look over the city of New Delhi, lays out what he believes to be love, and the reason why he was unable to pursue his love for Meera. The majority of the film takes place one year prior, as Kartik and Meera develop their bond frothier first meeting, which, as the title would suggest, takes place as they jostle for a rickshaw en route to their respective colleges. Ultimately agreeing to share the rickshaw, this is a painful scene to watch. The writing is so obviously scripted that nothing is surprising, whilst the slow motion, beam of light that shines on Meera is almost sickening in the lack of creativity involved in creating this meet cute.


It is a shame because following the meet cute, Shourya Kumar Lal’s directing only grows in strength. Filming on an iPhone 14 Pro, as Kartik and Meera wander around parts of New Delhi - though crucially only those roads surrounding their respective colleges, Kumar Lal’s skill behind the camera means that you cannot tell this fact. The film is generally well framed throughout and at times aesthetically beautiful, particularly in one awe-inspiring shot towards the end. However, consistently throughout the strength of his directing ability is undermined by the weakness in the film’s writing. Also written by Shourya Kumar Lal, the script is at first all too obvious, particularly during Kartik’s reminisces and the early moments between Kartik and Meera - including those involving Kartik hanging around the rickshaw stand in the hope of seeing Meera again (whether this is creepy or romantic is open to the viewer’s interpretation). Later, however, it becomes too pedantic in explaining the reasons why they could not work out together, although through such pedantic, melodramatic writing, a mountain is made of a molehill and Kartik comes across as a fool rather than the noble stoic that you feel Kumar Lal was trying to paint him as.


The overall lingering sense of melodrama isn’t helped by the soundtrack, consisting of cringe-inducing stock music, which further undermines the talent involved in the directing and only further emphasises the weaknesses in the writing, ultimately leading to a disappointing story of ill-fated love.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film
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