On demand video streaming service Chorki's latest release "Joar Bhata '' is a 20-odd-minute-long short film that portrays both the inner and outer journey of two strangers.
Directed by Sumon Anowar, the story starts with a boatman, Taijul (Shamol Mowla), who saves a newlywed bride, Laili (Farhana Fahmid), from drowning in the river.
On the way to her in-laws, their boat was attacked by some bandits and she was separated from her husband and in-laws.
Although Taijul saved her, his intentions begin to feel quite suspicious. So, the young bride pleads with him to take her to her in-laws' place and they start their journey the next morning.
When they reached their destination, Lalili's father-in-law forced her to leave the place, thinking she was cursed since her husband was killed during the attack last night - the night of their wedding.
As a result, Laili was forced back on the road to find herself a new place.
The story keeps circling from that point to build up the suspense. Was there a motive for a random boatman to continue helping the young bride, or was he just being a decent human being? The mystery untangles at the very last scene of the film.
The closing seemed raw to me as it ended abruptly. The scene reminded me of the 2009 film "Monpura" as I found a lot of similarities between the two shorts.
What I love about the short is its cinematography. Since the bank of the river was the main location, the wide-angle shots seemed exquisite.
Performances by both Shamol Mowla and Farhana Fahmid were up to the mark from my point of view. Although I would have liked it better if the script was a bit stronger, as they would have excelled further.
I felt the story needed more time to become stable. The attempt at developing the character by sharing each other's philosophy on life between their journeys was good but it wasn't nuanced enough for the audience to empathise with the characters.
Although, the portrayal of the story could have been better, the direction and cinematography were pretty standard and this is something young film-makers are currently excelling in.
The film sets off nicely but as it moves forward, it feels a little rushed. To me, the story was decent but it should have been 15 to 20 minutes longer to grasp the depth of the story.
Based on that, I would rate the film a 6.5 out of 10.
Chorki has been constantly trying to bring out good Bangladeshi content on the platform each month and I think this is a great initiative for young film-makers to try out new things and bring better content for the county.