Film Review: Gulmohar (2023): The Enchantment of Unexpected Connections

Dipankar Sarkar provides a comprehensive analysis of the short film "Gulmohar (2023)"

Dec 20, 2023 - 13:40
Dec 20, 2023 - 14:09
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Film Review: Gulmohar (2023): The Enchantment of Unexpected Connections
In the sombre depths of depression, even the faintest glimmer of affection can serve as a lifeline, capable of intricately weaving the delicate fabric of solace into one's existence. Like a subtle yet resilient thread, kindness from any source has the power to mend the frayed edges of a troubled soul. It is in these moments of vulnerability that the simplest gestures—a comforting word or a gentle touch—can bring forth a profound sense of comfort and reassurance. In Digvijay Andhorikar's short film Gulmohar, a complicated portrayal of life's challenges unfolds, showcasing how the power of affection acts as a transformative force. It provides solace and serves as a poignant reminder of the interconnected strands that unite us in our collective journey through humanity.
Abhimaan Bharat runs a column, Bahumulya, in their newspaper by an anonymous author, Gulmohar. The writings have been a medium for finding peace in the troubled married life of Keshav, a 35-year-old corporate executive. The moment he learns that the column will be discontinued soon, he reaches the newspaper office to meet the writer. However, the office staff is unaware of the writer's identity and address. A polite and eager editor, Latika, assists him in finding the author. But soon Latika's concealed role as the writer surfaces. We also come to know that Keshav's ongoing battle with depression unfolds, with Gulmohar's writings emerging as a vital safety net. Their shared journey effectively illustrates the significant influence of words, connection, and sentiment in confronting personal struggles and nurturing unforeseen connections.
What sets this short film apart from the typical narrative of marital infidelity is its approach and the conspicuous absence of sensationalism. Here, no character assumes the role of a home-wrecking seducer, and there are no scandalous undertones or exaggerated age disparities in the relationship between the two individuals. Instead of focusing on physical desire, the film centres on cultivating an emotional connection between the characters. Keshav isn't discontented initially, but when Latika shares her struggles with biases at work and expresses a desire to remarry, it stirs something vital within him. In essence, Gulmohar is not merely a story of interaction but a sophisticated exploration of two people grappling with the decision of whether to act upon the growing connection between them.
The film also delicately juxtaposes the significance of communication in quelling the emotional tempests that surge within us. Keshav teeters on the precipice of divorce from his wife, and Latika contemplates resigning from her job, envisioning a settled life as a married woman in her second marriage. In each narrative strand, the welfare of their children serves as a poignant undercurrent, heightening the stakes and bringing intricacies to their choices, deepening the complexity. Further, the film delicately underscores how the need for open dialogue and understanding with our life partners is pivotal in navigating the tumultuous seas of personal transformation, where love, familial bonds, and individual aspirations collide sensitively.
Gulmohor had its world premiere at the Jio MAMI Film Festival in 2003 and was recently selected for the competitive section of the 29th Kolkata International Film Festival in 2023.

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