Dayalu | Vipin Sharma | Short Film of the Month

Short Film of the Month December 2021


By Priyanka Banerjee with 7.2

drama · Short Films · hindi

Our introduction to the primary characters in the film is marked by the struggle to survive in a world where a man and a woman somehow manage to make ends meet. When they come home, it is an image of domestic bliss, despite all the obstacles they have to overcome to secure it. Together with their little daughter, they share a meal, play a game of ball and ensure an environment of love and positivity. However, before you realize it, the film brutally undercuts the tone established so far.

The family of working-class parents makes an honest living by day, but by night, it runs a business of deception that the film calls a transaction in compassion. There is a challenging of the moral compass, as notions of truth and reality are thrown off. The thing is that once a sense of mistrust seeps into the narrative through one opening, it can easily breed distrust in the whole body.

The long hours at work and the constant undercurrent about having made enough money acquires a distinct identity of its own, revealing to you a world that harbours some extremely unpalatable circumstances. Guilt, discomfort, compulsions and responsibilities of being parents, are all weaved together for the narrative to come into its own.

Unsettling and disturbing, Dayalu is a complex film to unpack. The narrative remains as inward looking as it is reflective of the outside world. With a cast of fine actors, there is no shortage of intense performances either. Additionally, there is thought, commitment and a demand on the viewer to engage. The questions that the plot asks of the audience are all extremely crucial, presenting a loud and resounding comment on society that will stay with them long after they are done watching it.
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The inspiration to write Dayalu came from a personal encounter I had with a couple very similar to Daya and Urmila, who approached me (much like they do in the film) outside a movie theater. With this concept, I began to construct Dayalu from the perspective of this couple. I had no solid plot to follow, I just began writing with the incident in mind and let go to see where I might end up.

We shot the film a few months before I graduated from college with some friends of mine who were film school students. Much of the aesthetic or visual choices we have made were hardly choices at all. We made the film completely independently, with minimal to no budget and only with the great spirit and support of our incredible cast (Vipin Sharma, Manjari Pupala, Rajyoshi Vidyarthi along with the support of Angel's family, who plays Aarya). We really wanted the audience to feel like they know Daya and Urmila, even if it was through a story that was only ten minutes long.
Priyanka BanerjeeDirector, Dayalu