Ram Madhvani showed us what a fine, talented director he is when he made Neerja last year. It’s strange that the former adman who made his movie debut with the Boman Irani-starrer, Let’s Talk took more than a decade to make his second movie, especially when he has shown his fine craftsmanship with this hostage drama that had Sonam Kapoor in her finest performance. If you thought that that was just a flash in the pan, a lucky mistake, then you should watch Ram Madhvani’s latest short film, This Bloody Line, which he presented at India Conclave 2017 on Saturday to some standing ovation. The promising director has released the short film on YouTube and here’s our take on it…
This Bloody Line is about the emotional turmoil of the man who divided our country in 1947. Literally. We are talking about Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the architect behind the Radcliffe line that divided India and East Pakistan (now proper Pakistan). The short film starts with the credits giving us a little insight about the man, who never thought his one line would cause the bloodiest massacre in our country. After the prologue is over, the film then brings us into the house of Radcliffe (Martin Bishop), who is shown inquiring with his wife (Lena Hodgson) if there is any poem that has come in the newspaper about him. She said there is one, but it is not very nice. He still insists on her reading it out to him, since he is having cathartic vision. She reads the poem which has a satirical view on how his Radcliffe line did nothing but damage. She tried to skip over the more unpleasant portions, but he catches her on this, and insists on reading the skipped portions. When the poem is over, he reveals that he has never been to India, and he has no clue why Lord Mountbatten insisted that he should draw the line. He grumbled upon the fact that the poem does not mention the part where he returned the 3000 pounds that were paid to him for the task. As he introspects further, he also reveals how Mahatma Gandhi told him about ahimsa and how this line would only invoke violence.
Though the short film is confined to a single room with only two characters who do nothing but talk, Ram Madhvani has managed to capture guilt and frustration of Cyrill Radcliffe, who gets blamed for the violence when he was just doing his job. Both the actors give fine performances, and some of the dialogues just hit the soft spot. Like when Radcliffe laments how if he draws a line in the same room as they are in, it would divide them, his wife calmly says that it would be better if she comes to the other side, to be with him. Ironically, this migration also happened during our partition and resulting in the deaths of millions.
Watch the short film here….
While not suited for everyone’s taste thanks to its talkative nature, This Bloody Line is finely directed human drama which shows we should expect great stuff from Madhvani.