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Directed by Paarth Manjarekar/ Reviewed by Biplab Das

The Free Press of Khuld is a thriller but not in a conventional way. This 10-minute long short film deals with the life of a writer who does crazy things for his writings.  The inherent violence, verbal or physical, present in the film is potent enough to attract any crime thriller lover. However, if you try to put the short in a particular genre, then it would fall under the category of a thriller. The story of the film is open-ended. It is the audience’s responsibility to find the underlying meaning of the short.

If you’re looking for a drama with some thrill, this movie will attract you. The content of the film is not suitable for children which also make the film strong. The film is a conversation between the protagonist and the antagonist. The audience needs to show their patience to see the end and also find the inner meaning of the film. The film is short in time but deals with many issues. The audience needs to take a count on such subjects.

Ajinkya Alkari played the role of Sadri Sohrab who is the protagonist of the film. He played the role of a revolutionary writer. Although there is no scene of him writing, the title of the film represents that the film is related to writing. Abdul Wahid Baagwan played the role of the antagonist. His captivating presence on the screen keeps the film going. Paarth Manjarekar, writer-director of the film tried to show the psyche of a writer. He has just taken 10 minutes to portray what goes on inside the head of a writer. The cinematography of the film could have been much better. The costume of the film is quite apt, but the setting could have been better.

The logline of the film is simple. Sadri Sohrab, a revolutionary author of ‘The Free Press of Khuld’, visits the house of the next subject of his article with murderous intent. The film tells the story of pre-independence India. Sadri’s character is unique. His character can be divided into two parts. In the first part, he acts like a fumbling, ill-prepared writer who has appeared for an interview. In the second half, he becomes aggressive. His real self comes out. The killing scenes reveal the pain and anger of the writer. The film also someway shows the creative journey of a writer who is also looking for subjects. However, in the end, the film is not shown what he has written finally.

The film deals with multiple subjects. The plot is set in 1919 and deals with issues like caste and feudalism.  Interestingly, the director showed how Zamindars used to rule over other people before India’s independence. The arrogance of the Zamindari system is well portrayed in the film. In the movie, the director tried to depict that the killings are justified. The writer has a painful past which forced him to meet the Zamindar but the writer’s main idea is to collect inspiration for his writing. The film starts with killing and ends with another killing. The in-between period is a conversation between the zamindar and the writer.

The film is unique in the way that the entire story has been told via a conversation. There is a dramatic approach to the film. The drama holds to film together which culminates in a thriller. The conversation is the main attraction of the short. I would recommend the film to everyone. The movie will certainly attract those who are associated with creative work. This film needs at least a double-viewing. As a reviewer of the film, I would like to give ‘The Free Press of Khuld’ three stars out of five.


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