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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Satirical "Screwdriver" Lampoons Indian Ban Culture In Universally Funny Short Film

"SCREWDRIVER" (2016)
Genre: Comedy
Length- 13:10
Company:  Quest Mercury

Bhag Sing (Rajesh Nahar) and his wife Neha (Preety Arora) visit his old college buddy Goldie (Afsar Adil) back in India only to find the political landscape changed: a new, overactive socially conscious generation has begun enacting policies which, while done with good intentions, are far too kneejerk to address any real societal ills.

Take for instance the whole reason Bhag came back to begin with -- to share a drink with his friend.   Even drinking alcohol is prohibited on certain days of the week, during elections, on birthdays -- the list goes on.

With nothing much else to do, Bhag decides to go for a ride on his motorcycle.  His kickstart lever falls off, and he goes in search of a screwdriver to fix it.

But wouldn't you know, a series of screwdriver murders has started a new movement to ban the use of this basic tool entirely, and all Bhag can do is watch helplessly as his rights ping pong off the TV screen . . .

THE BEAUTY OF SATIRE

"Screwdriver" is a pure satire written, edited and directed by Vikkramm Chandirramani.  It's a subtitled visual experience delivered with a very light touch, almost child-like with its simple wipe transitions and extended scenes heavy on dialogue and static shots.  We have some really nicely done visual effects during the news broadcasts which amp up the apparent production values and give us something to look at which turns out to be a very good idea because the rest of the film is fairly mundane on an aesthetic level.

But where this film succeeds is ideas.  First of all, I'm American, so to have a sneak peak into India's political climate was fascinating.  But more than that, as soon as the screwdriver conversation pops up, it starts getting more and more funny until I found myself clapping as poor Bhag finds himself the victim of just the sort of ludicrous nonsense that bureaucratic peons would do in such a situation.

Anyway, I don't want to spoil any of the ridiculousness, because it's very funny and you should check it out.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 2.5 / 5.  I was a bit on the edge with this one because yes, the comedic writing is top notch, but the characters themselves have little to do. Goldie disappears after the first few minutes, the beginning is slow, and the finale doesn't resolve anything.
Directing: 2 / 5.  It works out OK, but none of the scenes are visually striking.  We have no real camera movement through the whole film.  The visual effects save the day, essentially.
Editing: 3 / 5.  Some scenes seem overly long.  The transitions are all wipes, which seems an odd choice to me, but it does contribute to the zaniness of the picture.
Sound/Music: 2.5 / 5.  Nothing jumped out at me, but nothing made me wince either, so that's good.
Acting: 2 / 5.  Nahar and Adil were off and on in the first scene, but the former improved over the course of the film and put in a decent performance by the end.  Arora did what she could with what she was given.

Final Grade: 2.4 / 5.

Don't forget to check out "Screwdriver" at its official website and follow the film on Facebook!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!