After editing several feature films and directing two ‘Jaan-E-Mann’ (2006) and ‘Joker’ (2012), Shirish Kunder, like several filmmakers today, turns to the web to tell a story spanning across nineteen minutes. ‘Kriti’, a short film which stars well-known faces like Manoj Bajpayee, Radhika Apte, and Neha Sharma, is a psychological thriller.
Sapan (Manoj Bajpayee) visits Dr. Kalpana (Radhika Apte), a psychiatrist after a month. Kalpana tells him that she was worried as she had not seen Sapan, who used to visit her often, for a month and wondering if he is alright. Sapan tells her that he has met a young woman called Kriti (Neha Sharma) and they are in a steady relationship. Kalpana tells him that she would like to meet Kriti personally as Sapan, who has some psychological issues, had earlier claimed to be involved with a woman called Rachna who never existed in the first place. After Sapan tells her that it would not be possible for Kriti to meet her, Kalpana suggests video conferencing. Sapan goes home and tries to film Kriti discreetly on phone and shows the footage to Kalpana to prove to her that she exists.
The film offers shocking revelations at two important junctures; while the twist that arrives first (shortly after the policeman arrives at Sapan’s door) is mildly predictable, the second one that is thrown at the audience in the final moments of the film is terrific. The film does not rest only on twists and turns though. The kind of ambiance that Shirish builds from the beginning of the film and the way in which he sets up the narrative keep you hooked to it. Having said that, the kind of story he had set out to tell could have been said in much lesser than nineteen minutes. The conversations between the three lead characters (Manoj, Neha, and Radhika) could have been shorter. The names of the female characters (Kriti, Kalpana, and Rachna) serve as interesting metaphors.
Apart from writing, directing, and editing the film, Shirish, who had done the background score for ‘Jaan-E-Mann’ (2006) and composed the title track of ‘Tees Maar Khan’(2010), scores the background music for the film and does a good job at it. Manoj Bajpayee gets a lot more screen time than any other actor in the film and he, as always, delivers a standout performance. Radhika Apte has been cast well in the role of a psychiatrist and she plays her part well. Neha Sharma looks pretty and delivers a very natural performance. Manu Rishi is good as the policeman.
After making a romantic drama and a sci-fi comedy, Shirish Kunder tries his hand at a thriller for the first time and comes out with flying colours. His next feature ‘Mrs. Serial Killer’ (2020) is touted to be a thriller and one looks forward to finding out whether he would be as successful in weaving a story in the same genre in a feature film format as he has managed to in a short film.