A Cross Worth Bearing!
Remorse as an emotion could be a tricky thing in that it eats out parts of you, even as you thrash about to keep its teeth at bay. Senthil Rajan’s short film ‘Cross’ offers a sharp and compelling study of a man roaming about the dark and grimy streets of a crime infested city. This tight, character driven drama definitely enlists our compassion in no time, and brings under the spot light yet another young director who has an undeniable gift of film making.
Stephen (Aneesh Kasim) is not the filmi thug that you are familiar with; the kind that smokes non-stop, lives on booze and sashays around with bar dancers. On the contrary, he comes across as more of a loner, and retiring to his shabby shack after an assignment, tries to get some sleep beneath a creaking fan. His relations are quite warm as well, be it with the chaiwaala boy or with the journo (Kavitha) who is all eager to pen down his story. His words are minimal, temper almost nonexistent and his moods are consistently evasive. Repentance, Stephen admits is a sensation that he isn’t used to, even as his brooding demeanor and forlorn eyes tell a different tale.
The very final scene of the film with Stephen almost stranded on a deserted street with a cross looming far beyond him, is almost elegiac in its composition and perhaps the best part as well. The makers carefully steer clear of the conventions that threaten to barge in any moment, and there are no shudders and shocks in store. Instead, there is simply a human realization of the bitterness and irony of life and the struggle to come to terms with it. The flaws are minimal here, and the film eventually does accomplish exactly what it sets out to do.
The cast is quite impressive, be it Aneesh Kasim who delivers an extremely guarded performance, or Sanal Potty and Kavitha who competently live up to their roles. There is also Ahas Girikumar who leaves a very definite mark and Kalabhavan Murali as well. Technically too, this short film has been brilliantly shot, crisply edited and looks top notch. A very special mention to Faizal Ali and his remarkable camera that conveys the dark tone of the film to the hilt.
Running for about twenty minutes, It’s not the inventiveness in the story that impresses us in ‘Cross’ as much as the way in which it unfolds on screen. It’s outer trappings are perhaps recognizable to us, and yet if it retains all the freshness and intrigue of a gritty short film, it’s thanks to an engaging director at its helm.
Tags: Cross, Senthil Rajan