Chiso Ghar (Bleak House, 2023): Navigating the challenges in the grind of daily life

Dipankar Sarkar provides a comprehensive review on the short film Chiso Ghar (Bleak House, 2023)

Feb 20, 2024 - 14:40
Feb 20, 2024 - 14:42
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Chiso Ghar (Bleak House, 2023): Navigating the challenges in the grind of daily life

Family, the cornerstone of society, is a dynamic entity shaped by various elements. The intricate web that binds a family together is woven with threads of love, mutual understanding, and sacrifice. While women have historically played a crucial role in maintaining familial bonds through their sacrifices, it is essential to recognize that the strength of a family lies in the collective efforts of all its members. Bidushi Giri, an independent filmmaker based in Nepal, delves into profound inquiries with her debut short film, Chiso Ghar. Through her discerning lens, she carefully examines the life of a dance tutor, unravelling layers of significance and prompting viewers to contemplate deeper themes. The short film weaves a story within around eleven minutes that goes beyond the surface, raising pertinent questions about life, identity, and the human experience.

The film opens with Shubhi (Sonika Thakuri) and Nuga (Subash Bomjan) sharing a brief moment on a footbridge, their connection disrupted by the incessant buzzing of Nuga's intrusive cellphone. However, for Shubhi, this annoyance pales in comparison to the bombshell Nuga is about to drop – he wants to end their relationship. Upon returning home, Nuga is met with the barrage of his mother's (Sarita Giri) complaints, a cacophony born from unremitting toil without respite. Unbeknownst to Shubhi, beneath this surface discontent lies a more bitter truth – her father (Lokendra Lekhak) is entangled in an affair with another woman, a revelation she stumbles upon during an unintended intrusion into her parents' bedroom. The following day reveals the harsh reality of Nuga's infidelity before Shubhi's eyes. Now, caught in the whirlwind of deception, Shubhi and her mother stand at a crossroads – torn between desperately clinging to the fragments of a crumbling reality or summoning the courage to release them into the ether.

Chiso Ghar diverges from conventional entertainment, not by being dull or challenging to watch, but by delving into the raw and profound aspects of life. It eschews typical entertainment, opting to explore the inherent pain and deep frustration in the human experience. While it may be intense for some due to its unapologetic portrayal of life's struggles, its brilliance lies not only in direction or subject matter but also in singularly powerful performances. The filmmaker rejects glamorization and over-dramatization, committing to narrating authentic stories from the real world without glossing over the mundane or the awkward. The film unfolds with numerous quiet moments, each permeated with an atmosphere of repression, frustration, and sadness, such as Shubhi eating dinner alone or being helpless to confront her father abusing her mother. These moments capture the bitterness inherent in daily life, challenging viewers to confront a reality that is difficult to escape.  Furthermore, the film's title hints at the complexity and dichotomy defining the human experience, extending beyond mere storytelling to invite viewers to contemplate the multifaceted nature of existence. Through subtle storytelling nuances, the film challenges us to foster a deeper understanding of the human condition and the interplay of forces shaping our lives.  It's worth noting that the film's simplicity lies not only in direction or subject matter but also in the unique brilliance of Sonika Thakuri's performance. Her understated expressions act as a mirror to the human condition, encouraging the audience to empathize with the protagonist's challenges and, in turn, connect with the universal struggles that bind us all.

Chiso Ghar had its world premiere at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2023.

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