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REVIEW: 14 SITAMBAR (Short film)

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Producers- Keshav Rai and Brajesh Khandelwal

Director- Rajesh Rathi

Star Cast- Vijayendra Vijay, Ashok Banthia, Mushtaq Khan, Snigdha Akolkar

Genre- Social

OTT Platform- Hungama

Hard Hitting!

Rating- ***

Jyothi Venkatesh

“When I read in newspapers that more than eight lakh children failed in Hindi in a major state like Uttar Pradesh, I was appalled to see the condition of the language that binds the people of the country,” This is what the popular PRO turned event organizer and producer Keshav Rai, who has also co-written the script of the short film Sitambar 14 written and directed by Rajesh Rathi said on September 14 which is celebrated every year as the Hindi Divas.

Without wasting any time, the short film sets out to show how a young woman (Snigdha Akolkar) is all set to commit suicide by jumping from the terrace of her building because she is worried and sad that the national language is not being taken seriously by the people and how she is saved in the nick of time by Mishraji a neighbor of hers (Ashok Banthia)

The short film 14 Sitambar sets out to aim to raise awareness among the people, especially children and teachers, about the importance of Hindi language.

The film drives home the poignant but subtle message that more than eight lakh boys and girls studying in various schools actually have failed that too in a major Hindi speaking State like Uttar Pradesh and today the pathetic condition of the national language Hindi that binds the vast majority of the people of the country is appalling to say the least.

The suicide of that woman (Hindi) is not a spur of the moment suicide. It’s a well thought out step and she is still contemplating whether she should end her life now or wait and tolerate for some more time.

So, while she is in a dilemma on the edge of the terrace, Mishraji comes and rescues her leading to their debate.

Finally, though she cuts her wrist with a glass bottle to end her trauma, she survives to tell her tale so that we can pull up our socks and buck up before it is too late.

To indicate her mental state, when we see her going up the stairs, she is cool. She is not in a hurry. Even on the edge of the terrace, she is standing still and pondering !

Not many films have been made on any ‘language’ as such till date, but even if they have been made, they must be in a documentary format but the USP about this particular short film is that the director has treated this subject as a fiction to engage the audience and make an emotional impact and I should say that to a large extent director Rajesh Rathi has succeeded in his mission.

Snigdha Akolkar fits her part like a glove and literally you empathize with her character while the versatile actor Ashok Banthia also has scored with his role. Vijayendra Vijay is just about okay in a small part as Mishraji’s son.

Mushtaq Khan also makes a big impact with his light role as the cop. I only trust that the hard hitting short film will reach the maximum people and travel through the political corridors to give ‘Hindi’ the constitutional status which she deserves and also hope, in the 75th year of our independence, that we can proudly say that Hindi is our national language.