India | 11 MIN. |Bengali
Virtual IMFF 2020 Screening Details:
Saturday, May 9 2020 |
Screening: 7.00pm - 8.15pm
Amidst communal tension outside, a dysfunctional family sits together for their customary morning meal.
Set in the backdrop of ongoing communal tension instigated by rival political factions, MEAL is an 11- minute DIALOGUE-LESS story about one particular household.
The atmosphere in the house is clearly that of unease. A woman in the kitchen carrying a bruise underneath an eye stares into the distance until a pressure cooker whistle breaks her dead gaze. A man in another room restlessly stuffs arbitrary things into a suitcase, seemingly preparing to leave the house in a state of fury. A child in school uniform picks up broken remnants from a wall clock. Today happens to be the first day of Madhyamik (the board exams) and he is already late. Also present in the house is an ailing grandfather restricted to a wheelchair who bears witness to it all.
The house is in a state of disarray, reflecting the chaos and lovelessness of outside – where everyone is a victim and everyone a perpetrator in equal measure.
Amidst all this, the family sits down for one last meal together.
‘Meal' was a very personal experience, something that I have seen very closely growing up. Not exactly what happens in the film eventually, but the chaos inside that apartment and also outside is something very familiar to me. If you see all around us today, people have become very non-chalant and unemotional. The news of a rape doesn't alarm us anymore.
We simply turn the page. People are murdered because of their choice of meat. We again, simply turn the page. That tells a lot about where we are headed- a state of lovelessness. And that's what Meal is about. It's not a story of a specific household but it's a story of all of us living in the present time where even faith cannot bring relief anymore and that is why there is a direct attack on the "belief-system" (a recurring theme used throughout the film) at the end of the film.
Meal is a result of a seeping frustration in all of us, threatening to unleash. All the characters in the film are neither victims nor perpetrators. They are just end products of a degrading socio- political system where there is no escape nor any respite.