Short Film: Sita
Cast: Shriya Pilgaonkar, Om Kanojiya, Lilliput
Director: Abhinav Singh
Female foeticide is an immoral practice that's still prevalent in some parts of society. Despite taking adequate measures to eradicate it, the social evil has held onto its roots. In an attempt to address the cruelty and discrimination against women in India, Abhinav Singh directs Sita, a short film. Headlined by Shriya Pilgaonkar and Om Kanojiya, it also stars Lilliput. Reopening a forbidden chapter from the Hindu mythological epic, Ramayan, the writer-director presents the tale of a young boy who goes through a life-altering incident.
The story of Sita revolves around a young Dalit boy (Om Kanojiya) who struggles to cremate a dead newborn baby. The little girl was abandoned by her rich family upon her death. Owing to caste differences, the boy cannot cremate the child as he belongs to the lower caste. As he finds it difficult to make arrangements for cremation, he interacts with an enigmatic woman who holds the mirror of harsh reality.
Abhinav Singh's story explores contemporary India where regressive practices still exist. He touches upon subjects like casteism and gender discrimination with a touch of mythology. Choosing to tell a rather forbidden chapter from the Ramayan, Abhinav takes a less explored route in putting his story across. However, while the idea is in the right place, the execution is unconvincing. The heart of Sita lies in the protagonists hence it is in the right place. The soul that's lacking cannot be neglected.
Sita's strength is its actors-Shriya and Om. While the director makes the most of the two phenomenal performers, there are loose ends to the story that refuse to connect. The death of the newborn baby, the burden during the cremation and the entire purpose of the film fail to come together to create the right emotional connection. The portion where some depth can be felt is when Shriya delivers her dialogue on Ramayan. Before and after that, it seems to be a completely different setting.
There's no doubt about Shriya's acting prowess and she proves it once again. Drawing the limelight on her, the actress is enigmatic and stunning beyond just her looks. She makes you believe in her character. Shriya does the heavy lifting with her screen presence and you cannot take your eyes off her even for a fraction of a second. She stands out in the film with her honesty. With Sita, Shriya secures her position as one of the finest actors in the country yet again.
Om Kanojiya does a fine job as well. It is his innocence and curiosity that grab attention. He is an actor to look out for. Lilliput is a star. Give him a 2 minutes role, he will make sure to leave behind a powerful impact.
Sita is a decent attempt at highlighting a grim situation. Some pieces of the puzzle fit beautifully whereas some are missing from sight. Trust Shriya and Om to make it a one-time watch with their sheer dedication.