[New York Independent Film Festival] Short Films: Bagheera (2017) - Reviewed

What did we think of Bagheera? Find out here. 

The new short film Bagheera written and directed by Australian filmmaker Christopher R. Watson, is a survival/revenge feminist thriller which highlights the ongoing issue of distinctly Indian female degradation as well as a testament to a woman’s cunning skills to dig herself out of a dangerous predicament.  Boiling down to two cast members, the film concerns the titular heroine (Preeti Choudhury) who after a day of leading her Girl Scout troop finds herself held captive by the psychotic clutches of a boorish oversized man named Kaka (Rajesh Balwani).  Locked in an electrified holding cell, can our Bagheera outwit and escape the dangerous Kaka’s squalid underground hideout before receiving the same ill fate of so many others before her?

Running only a mere twenty minutes in length and made on a microbudget in the outskirts of Mumbai, Bagheera is an inspired, well made and acted little short film that manages to pack in more genuine suspense and thrills in its meager running time than most feminist feature films.  Photographed in high definition with key but subtle visual effects work, the short piece is ultimately an actors’ movie boiling down to one-up gamesmanship as our heroine’s survival skills are put to the ultimate test. 

Performances in the short by both actors are startlingly good with Balwani exuding a shaggy dog menace with an especially expressive face, contrasted by the fierce and undeterred gaze of Choudhury thinking her way out of her dilemma.  Overall, it’s a solid little short that doesn’t reinvent the wheel or show us anything we haven’t seen before but functions as an effective jolt and reminder that our intuition and resourcefulness can move us miles ahead even in the face of hopelessness. 

-Andrew Kotwicki