One time (2020 Short Film) Review – A Cryptic Revelation

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One Time (short film) is an 11 min short directed by Gaurav C. Bhat. It has been written and co-directed by Fiza Irwin, who also plays the character of Maya in the film.

Jim Sarbh, playing the protagonist brings a sort of grandeur and depth to his role. It seems that he not only understood the psychological fabric of the written material but latches onto the emotions with a subtle and nuanced visual representation.


The Epiphany

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A famous actor, sitting in a cafe, is totally immersed in what he is reading. When interrupted by a lady, his thought process seems disrupted. It seems that he has been woken up from his slumber. He takes a moment or two to regain his consciousness to understand the fine line between reality and fantasy. He is determined to find an intersection between two parallel lines. He takes the advantage of the most fascinating thing in life i.e time and tries to shape, what we call, destiny.

The lady is a fan and tells him how she appreciates his body of work. Once she leaves to sit in another corner, the actor asks if he could join her. The ice is broken in the most fascinating and intriguing manner. They talk about assumptions and how exhilarating it could be to talk to a complete stranger. They talk about ideologies and philosophies. They talk about destiny and time. They try to change each other’s perception. They try to understand the nature of things in this life. They try to decipher the pattern if there is any. The conversation flares up with the mere possibility of the future and the extreme sensuality of the night.


A Bad Time

The actor shows a fragile restraint to a point where it almost becomes appealing. It’s that sparsed bluntness and truth combined with that very restraint, that makes up for a passionate concoction.

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The lady named Maya is not ready to give anything away so easily. She says that she is not going to give him the satisfaction by revealing everything.

The actor has a certain dreaminess about him. It feels like he is constantly searching for the truth. He knows that the words can be misleading. They often tell what is convenient and not reality. He wants to flay the layers. He believes in patterns. He thinks that there always exists a precise series of events. “There is a flow“, he says, “everything works in a fragile framework.” He is tired of the romanticization of death in literature. He feels it is a waste and the sacrifice is just not worth it. It will be talked over by a few people, discussed in literary gatherings but eventually, its magnanimity will succumb to a few pages in the history books. The satisfaction is to unravel the mystery and possibilities of the present. It is more cryptic than in the future. Every move changes things in a defining manner.

Maya says that they met at a bad time. A cryptic epiphany of sorts.


The Nature of Possibilities

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The nature of shorts is very tricky indeed. You get 10 mins to tell a story, explore the characters and create a make-believe world. What Fiza Irwin has done brilliantly is to find gratification in the mere uncertainty of events. It is sometimes extremely alluring to be in a pasture that lies in unknown territory. What is known is the present and only present. You might get a hint about the past or form your own perception to where things might lead, but you never know for sure. It is a sort of mystery that you want to solve but you don’t have the means to. And if done properly it transmits almost poetic energy in your system.


One Time (short film) is a well written and extremely well performed short. It is dedicated to all the situations or events or maybe people that constituted that aspect of your life which you might term as “what ifs.” Stream it today to witness the sensuality of a mere possibility.


One Time (short film) is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai in 2018 to bring characters to life and escape reality. Likes to dwell in the world created by cinema and ponder over philosophical thoughts. Believes in the kind of cinema that neither makes you laugh nor makes you cry, but moves something inside you.

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