Directed by Sparsh Banerjee and Ayush Kasana | Reviewed by Samiksha Periwal
The joy of doing your most loved activity with a group of likeminded and optimistic people is almost like a regular dose of serotonin. The film ‘8:01’ is non-fiction, short documentary that perfectly validates the above-mentioned statement. This film captures a small, yet extremely essential part of the everyday lives of a unique group of middle-aged men, who belong to the working, middle class population and who stay in one of India’s busiest metro cities, Mumbai. This group is termed unique as they have been boarding the same local train over thirty years while travelling back home from work. During this journey, they all come together and engage in singing as a leisure activity just to feel happy, entertain fellow passengers and simply enjoy by making travelling more fun and optimistic.
This group of men are seen sharing their experiences of this regular activity, telling us about how just a small community activity like singing together can bring about such a positive energy in the monotonous lifestyle of Mumbaikars, just a smile on the faces of their fellow passengers has motivated them to continue with this for so many years now. They confess how they have to wait for almost an hour extra just to board the same train and meet the same people, yet it doesn’t seem like extra work for them as this is a stress-relieving activity that they do altogether to finally end a hectic day a work with a more optimistic and happier vibe.
Creating a small yet comfortable happy space for people of the similar age group is one sign of healthy aging and positive lifestyle. One of the people mentions how they even plan and celebrate birthday and festivals together as they feel so connected with the people that they travel and sing with on a regular basis. Staying in a metropolitan city like Mumbai can be very monotonous and hectic for most people, considering how fast-paced and competitive the environment of the place is, to see such a positive and offbeat activity through this film is inspiring as well as motivating for all viewers. The way this documentary has been made and shot feels almost like a warm hug which brings only smiles on the audience’s faces.
The aspects of singing, people smiling, recording, sharing their stories with such excitement and pride are a few among the many other plus points of this documentary. To tap such an experience and then successfully document it in such a precise yet apt manner is definitely praiseworthy on part of the filmmakers. Their story is sure to touch the hearts of many people and inspire them to look out for activities apart from work that makes them feel happy about themselves and pursue a passion such a singing to keep themselves optimistic. The act of spreading joy is also something that the film teaches you as a viewer. Every smile and blessing counts, and to bring a smile on the faces of so many people on a regular basis is definitely something everybody appreciates.
The directors Sparsh and Ayush have done a great job in compiling this particular story so beautifully. Sparsh Banerjee is an undergraduate film school student of the prestigious Whistling Woods International, India. He is a recipient of the ’75 Creative Minds of Tomorrow’ recognized by the Government of India and is considered to have great potential as a future filmmaker. Moreover, apart from being the writer-director of this award-winning short film he has previously been an award-winning child actor and youngest film critic among other achievements.
This film has been critically acclaimed in several film festivals across the country. It has won the best documentary award in both Cult Critic Movie Awards as well as Tagore International Film Festival. These recognitions in itself talk volumes about the film. It is recommended one hundred percent and should be considered a must watch for by our viewers.