Short Film: Ek Duaa
Cast: Esha Deol, Barbiee Sharma, Rajveer Ankur Singh and Shreyansh Nick Nag
Director: Ram Kamal Mukherjee
OTT: Voot Select
Rating: 2.5 Moons
Ram Kamal Mukherjee, has been dabbling with short films with a poignant message for society for a few years now and has come a long way from when he made his directorial debut. With Ek Duaa, Mukherjee and Esha Deol are reuniting after Cakewalk. However, this time around Esha has also donned the hat of a producer. Ek Duaa is a shot film of around 45 minutes that deals with the pressing issue of female foeticide and the discrimination meted out to girl child in Indian families.
The film shows a lower middle-class Muslim household struggling to make ends meet while Barbiee Sharma, is at the heart of the conflict that crops up due to the discrimination against the female child in the family. The film has its heart at the right place but does not do much by offering anything new and becomes predictable. The characters too with their perfectly done make-up and sparkling clean and good clothes fail to reflect their financial crisis which is supposed to be at the heart of the story. The financial condition only reflects when Rajveer Ankur Singh as Suleiman says that there is a money crunch and he is barely able to make enough money. He tries his best to portray a character that struggles between his sentimental and emotional attachment to his father’s old Fiat Taxi and being conditioned by the prejudice and patriarchy of Indian society.
Esha, on the other hand, tries her best to give a nuanced performance and seems to be more invested in the story as she is a producer as well. However, her character of Abeeda looks too dewy-fresh with her immaculate make-up and hair without even a strand out of place to reflect her poverty or her dilemma. The too perfect makeup and costume with fine clothes and all makes it difficult for the viewer to enter the family’s world. However, Esha does strike the right chord in several heartbreaking scenes and looks much better than her Bollywood outings and puts in an earnest performance.
The issue of female foeticide is dealt with in a round-about way which fails to hold your attention. Ram Kamal Mukherjee’s direction is decent but not his best work as compared to his previous films like Seasons’ Greetings and Rickshawala. However, the film will be talked about for its premise and not for its narrative. Modhura Palit’s cinematography is charming and makes the film visually appealing. Nevertheless, in spite of Ek Duaa’s ham-handed storytelling it is a film that can be watched for its social message.
PeepingMoon.com gives Ek Duaa 2.5 Moons.