Directed by Monalisa Dasgupta| Reviewed by Swastika Ghosh
A tale of two friends, Shoi, is a short women’s film directed by the very talented Monalisa Dasgupta. It is set in the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic that shattered the lives and ruined the dreams of many. In the film’s opening scene, we can see two teenagers sitting and conversing by a lake. They were in their school uniforms and it seemed like that was their secret meeting spot after school every day. It is a wide shot scene where we can see the vastness of nature and the smooth flow of water. The director tried to give us a clear idea about the extent and depth of the friendship and love that the two friends share among themselves through the portrayal of nature in the scene.
Later that night, we see Minu lost in her friend, Firoza’s thoughts. But the next moment, her thought is disrupted by her father’s entry who asks her to keep aside her books and cook food for him. This shows the kind of constant familial pressure that Minu is under. Moreover, she has accepted her fate and tries her best to cope with it.
In the tuition scene, we find Firoza significantly distracted and worried for her friend Minu who was late for the class. After Minu’s arrival, we witness the sacrificial extent of the friendship that Minu and Firoza undergo ever-so often. The religious barriers that are burdened upon the commoners have been beautifully defied through Minu and Firoza’s characters. In fact, nothing except their friendship has been the sole concern for them.
The concept of unrequited love that we can witness through Anukul’s character has been shown in much detail. Anukul has a liking for Minu but never gets to express this to her due to Minu’s overindulgence in Firoza. His love remains a mystery to the recipient and every time he sees Minu, his face lights up.
Suddenly we see that a countrywide lockdown has been imposed by the government, causing hindrance to the normal ways of life. Thereafter, the familial pressure that Minu and Firoza undergoes has been shown rather minutely. We find that both of them are going through intense dismay but the cause of it is poles apart from one another. The imposition of lockdown is also affecting their friendship, causing immense distress.
All the close-up shots in the later half of the film captured by the director to clearly show the emotional turmoil of the two primary characters has been excellent. The continuous flute playing in the background during these scenes sets a rather upsetting mood. The use of color throughout the movie has been very appropriate, setting the tone on par with the mood. The cast has been extremely expressive and outstanding throughout the film.
This film is an appropriate representation of the disconcerting situation that the rural dwellers had to go through during the pandemic. Through the portrayal of the true picture of their hardships, the director tried to make us aware of the situation. The movie celebrates friendship in the midst of turmoil and finally shows the death of a bond.
Swastika Ghosh was born in Kolkata and lives with her parents and her beloved dog, Fuss. She studied Linguistics at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and holds immense love and passion for languages and literature. She spends much of her time indulging in contemporary and classic films from all across the globe.