Directed by Omkar Madhav Joshi | Reviewed by Samiksha Periwal
‘Guilt’ is an Indian short film dealing with the complexities of the unconscious mind through the story of a teenage boy and his relationship with his therapist mother. The film revolves around a shocking incident that leaves the mother perplexed, questioning the sanctity of the mother-son bond. She reaches out for help from her psychology professor, hoping to find answers to the agonizing situation that she is having to deal with. While the professor does clarify the mother’s doubts by asking her to look at the situation from a teenage boy’s perspective, however, he himself comes face-to-face with a deep-rooted repressed ‘guilt’ once again, leaving him with no choice but to suppress the thought that was safe in the boundaries of his subconscious mind for years until now! It is intriguing to see later in the film, how the mother deals with this situation while trying to understand her son from a psychological perspective and how the professor confronts his painful memories all over again.
The central character in this film Madhavi Soman, played by Madhura Velankar is portrayed as a strong and practical woman, who is a counsellor by profession and someone who assumes herself to be a perfect mother to his one and only child Soham, played by Aryan Vinod Menghji. While Madhavi comes across young boys dealing with the psychological conflict of identity crisis during adolescence every now and then in her profession, she fails to view her own son go through the same. Her perspective while looking at her son is highly biased and influenced by the mother inside her. She is seen behaving in a helpless and anxious manner after the incident occurs. On the other hand, Soham, who is just an ordinary teenager is curious to understand the changes that he is going through and, in an attempt to do the same, he relies on the internet and technology to learn more about the heightened feeling of excitement and need for pleasure.
The psychology professor in the film, performed by Mohan Joshi is also introduced by the director as a very witty and reasonable man. He seems to have a sorted and balanced life until he hears from Madhavi and pictures his own childhood in Soham’s situation. Professor Joshi explains the child’s curiosity and behavior from a psychologist’s perspective to Madhu, trying to convince her to do the same, just as he himself has to confront the long-forgotten pain of a similar incident that took place when he was a child. The message that the film at this point tries to give out is the stigma attached to the discussion of the physical and psychological changes that every teenager goes through during the adolescent period and how it is important for parents and elders to educate them on the same. Not doing so, may often lead to unwanted incidents that might affect the child emotionally and have a lasting impact on him/her throughout their lives. Education in a positive and supportive environment on the same is essential for teenagers to understand their feelings and act rationally. Moreover, with the easy access of internet and social media, children more often than not, learn about such things in an unhealthy manner which may make them feel anxious or even depressed at times.
The writers of this film must be appreciated for touching upon this issue and systematically explaining the impact of the same on the society in a well-laid out storyline. The director Mr. Joshi has also done a great job at throwing light on different perspectives around the same topic and how each individual playing a different role reacts to the ‘guilt’ that has been emphasized upon throughout the story. The climax, however, could have been better in terms of concluding the storyline in a more constructive way, yet the film does have an impact on its audience and is successful in putting across their thought with some wonderful performances by the entire cast.
Samiksha Periwal is an 20 year old student from Kolkata, West Bengal. She is an enthusiast, eager to learn and explore. She has done her schooling from Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Kolkata and is currently a student of Christ University, Bangalore pursuing a triple major in BA Psychology, Sociology and English. She is a passionate writer and has won many laurels for her school through the years.