Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Locked in their homes during COVID-19, seven friends talk about their experiences during quarantine.
“Kala Chashma 2.0”, a short film written and directed by Nidhi Kathuria, is inspired by a made-at-home short film titled “#Family”, featuring major actors from the Indian film industry, such as Amitabh Bachchan, Rajnikanth, Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Diljit Dosanjh, and Priyanka Chopra. Kathuria’s short film was shot on each actor’s individual phones in order to protect their health during quarantine. The film has cast actors both from India and the U.S to portray the ensemble of characters.
Throughout the short film, the seven friends are discussing the collective impact of the pandemic, as well as the individual problems they are facing. Each person brings a different perspective to the table regarding the pandemic.
When all of them turn on the news, they hear that the U.S. has hit a record of new COVID cases. One of the characters, Vick, gets angry at whoever turned on the T.V. In response, Girish explains, “How long can we keep running away from the truth? It has to stop.”
In addition to discussing the pandemic, the characters make jokes at each other that are aimed at providing more information regarding their friendships before the pandemic. For the viewer, the first minutes of the film are a bit vague, because the audience isn’t privy to the character relationships and setting yet. However, as the film continues, it becomes clear that each character is part of the group’s collective journey during quarantine.
The seven characters interact almost as if they are in the same room together. Each character is dealing with their own levels of frustration with quarantine, and discussing it with the others. For the viewer, the symbolism of the sunglasses helps show the connection between all of the characters, even though they aren’t in the same room together.
The “kala chashma” or sunglasses themselves seem to represent the idea that the seven characters are forced to be inside for an indeterminate amount of time due to the pandemic, and can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. They continue to wear them throughout the film because they don’t want to lose them for when they are able to go outside and meet each other. To the viewer, it symbolizes the feeling of not wanting to lose the hope that the pandemic will one day end.
While the film itself is only fifteen minutes, it demonstrates a satirical take on a deadly global pandemic that has forced much of the world to shelter at home for the past year.