Bibtya is a short film directed by Gargee Kulkarni that comes straight outta Nagraj Manjule’s production house Aatpat Productions. Nagraj, who is known to be a trend-setter in regional cinema, presents a sensitive topic in a realistic manner much like his earlier films Sairat and Fandry. However, this short film sets itself apart through the haunting story, which on the outset, seems to be revolving around a man-animal conflict, but there’s something more to it. The subject dealt with in the film leaves a lasting impact on our minds and we’re forced to question the ways of society.
Watch the film here.
The story is set in a village that is terrorised by a leopard. Chaos ensues when the leopard enters the village disturbing the livelihoods of many living in the vicinity. Amidst the chaos, a little girl goes missing while the leopard is on the loose prompting the entire village to look for her. They also set up traps to catch hold of the wild animal. But will this ensure safety of the villagers? Will the leopard be finally captured? And will the girl be found? This and many other questions are left unanswered as the story unfolds itself. Rest assured, the narrative in this 20-minute film will keep you on the edge of our seats.
The initial tension in the film reaches a point where we see something unexpected happening with the little girl and that’s when we realise that there’s more than what meets the eye. The conflict is finally resolved in the climax which makes us go numb. The film which was about the leopard suddenly takes a twist as we are forced to delve inside the dark corners of our own minds. The key takeaway from this film is its subtle commentary on the patriarchal mindset of the society and the metaphoric use of the leopard.
Apart from the cinematic brilliance, the cast, subtext, and the VFX are absolutely on-point. The spine-chilling scenes and the treatment of such a powerful subject by director Gargee Kulkarni also deserve a round of applause. The distinct rawness and the rural flavour of Nagraj’s films has been reflected in this film as well. This masterpiece was selected to premiere at the renowned Cannes Film Festival last year. This movie needs to be watched by everyone to witness the magic of Marathi cinema.
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