Ghuspaith: Between Borders (2023): A bleak and futile aspect of conflict.
In this analysis, Dipankar Sarkar provides insight into the stimulating and engrossing short film Ghuspaith: Between Borders.
The film begins with Usman (Dibyendu Bhattacharya) rescuing a group of individuals from the border area of India and Bangladesh whom he has surreptitiously hidden in his truck. Among the lot is an Indian photojournalist, Manav (Amit Sadh), who is accompanied by a pregnant woman, Manju (Pamela Bhutoria) and a young girl Chinti (Pari Sharma), whose family has been killed by the mujahideen group. At the checkpoint, the mujahideen leader (Korak Samanta) and his gang, unable to locate any humans in the vehicle, strip-checks Usman. As the truck reaches the destination and people begin to cross the border, Manju reveals that she cannot crawl under barbed wire and Usman should come up with an alternate solution. Soon, the situation becomes increasingly dangerous as the bullets fly and everyone scrambles for cover.
At a running time of thirty minutes, Ghuspaith Beyond Borders is a thrilling drama that dramatises a situation in all of its complexity while letting us consider the consequences of political decisions and their impact on people's lives. It is a lean, controlled film that keeps the audience engaged and captivated throughout. It touches upon issues pertaining to the border areas of India and Bangladesh, such as human trafficking and smuggling cattle. The precision with which the events play out unflinchingly narrates the state of affairs for those living in these war-torn areas. The film also delves into the corrupt systems and power dynamics that perpetuate these issues, shedding light on the struggles faced by marginalised communities. Through its nuanced storytelling, it encourages viewers to reflect on the broader socio-political implications of such conflicts and the urgent need for change.
Dibyendu and Amit get into the skins of the characters and stand out for making some sense of the parts they play. As they embark on a perilous journey, they make the viewers empathize with their plight and root for their cause till the very end. The characters' determination and resilience in the face of adversity captivate the audience, leaving them emotionally invested and deepen the connection. Pamela brings to life the vulnerable position of her character and Pari Sharma, as the little girl trapped in a difficult situation, also shines in her performance. Overall, the cast delivers strong performances, but Korak Samanta's portrayal of the maniac leader falls short in capturing the depth and complexity needed for his role and is hampered by overacting. The cinematography by Reed Garber is composed of long takes and the camera relentlessly moves to be ensconced in grim realism as we witness the drama firsthand. The editing by Abhimanyu Chaudhary and Mihir Lath keeps the tension in the story tightly woven, letting the viewer’s foray into the dark and unsettling world of the film. The restrained and balanced sound design by Kingshuk Moran pulls us in and puts us in the scene.
Films dealing with global conflicts have been an important tool in understanding the human toll of the war—what it does to the lives and the psychology of the individuals caught between the cross-fire. Ghuspaith: Between Borders serve as a vehicle for fostering empathy and compassion for the plight of individuals who are destined to coexist as neighbours.
Ghuspaith: Between Borders is currently streaming on JioCinema.