Kameez: An old man and the shirt
Noted Indian film critic and an alumnus of FTII, Pune, Dipankar Sarkar critically looks at the film, Kameez. 'With Kameez, Dhrubajit has made a decent attempt to hone his creative skills as a director', writes Dipankar Sarkar.
Dhrubajit Baishya’s short film Kameez is the emotional story of a family caught in the trials and tribulations of life. With a simplistic style, the story of the film traces a character coming to terms with the problem of old age through suffering, resolution, and understanding. The film makes a social comment on how individuals who go away from their families looking for livelihood in distant places most of the time do not understand the pain and suffering of their beloved parents. They presume that sending money as a token of affection and care will replace their absence and bring happiness to their parent's lives.
The events of the film happen over the course of a day. The protagonist of the film is a tailor by profession who lives with his wife in a small house. He is losing his eyesight and, at times, does not have enough change to pay for his daily cup of tea. In the evening, when he returns home, his wife informs him that their son Manohar will not come home during the festive occasion of Diwali. He has sent money to them through one of his friends. But the tailor is not happy because he has not seen his son for a long time. Through a flashback, it is revealed that Manohar has left behind a shirt sewn by his father. Finding no other option to communicate with his son, the tailor begins a sentimental conversation with the shirt.
Dhrubajit begins the film on an evocative note by capturing the loneliness in the life of a tailor through the film's subtle shots and its beautifully structured juxtapositions. As the tailor fails to put the thread into the sewing machine, we empathise with his plight because the poignant moments have a touch of cinematic style. But the story of the film starts losing steam once the tailor goes home. The treatment of the film becomes languid and does not live up to the promise it made at the beginning. The lighting of the film also becomes too bland to help us psychologically probe into the mind of the character and understand the turmoil he is facing. The monologue by the tailor, which had a lot of potentials to evoke our emotions, does not translate well from page to screen. Another reason why the last few minutes of the film do not create the desired impact is due to the stiff performance by the protagonist, played by the late Vira Sathidar. There is a lack of emotion in the manner in which he delivers the dialogue.
With Kameez, Dhrubajit has made a decent attempt to hone his creative skills as a director. He has chosen a subject to raise consciousness about a problem that is extremely relevant today. We hope that in the near future, he will take care of the errors committed in his recent venture and evolve as a better filmmaker. The film was screened at the recently held Habitat Film Festival in Delhi, in 2023.