Star Cast: Ozair Abdul Aleem
Director: Prataya Saha.
Language: Hindi & English (with subtitles).
Available on: At Chicago South Asian Film Festival
Runtime: 11 Minutes.
Mein, Mehmood Review:
All of us saw the pandemic through our own glasses. For some it was a lonely fest, for some a great time to introspect, and some unprivileged, everyday was a battle to exist. Amid these situations were the immigrants who not just had to stay away in dilemma between staying close to family or earning for them, but also had to survive in the jungle that just got intense.
‘Mein, Mehmood’ roughly translating to I am Mehmood is a story about one such immigrant in Dubai, who is not just facing the wrath of the pandemic but the curse of not knowing English and aging. Read that line again. Tell me the last time you saw someone cringe at a person for not knowing English. This 11-minute short written & directed by The Good Wife fame Prataya Saha puts you in the shoes of that person.
Here is a man doomed. Everything around him is crashing. He is inside a pressure cooker that is about to burst and amid all of this is someone or the other reminding him that he doesn’t know English and how that makes him less deserving. He lives a life of duality, where he portrays his life to be this amazing ride back home but sleeps in a cranked bunker bed in a dim-lit hostel. Almost everyone is cheating on her, even his wife and at large his life. Ozair Abdul Aleem is brilliant when he constantly keeps going weaker and life drains him. You can see that in his performance.
Saha’s bravery in ending ‘Mein, Mehmood’ in dismay and not hope only acknowledges the hardships that people are facing because of our obsession with a certain language and youth. DOP Abhishek Saravanan is having fun creating this world that visually looks like it is attacking Mehmood. He is slowly catching up with the world that is running around him. When he couldn’t he nods-off and that’s shown visually. There is never enough light to create hope and never less to kill it entirely either.
The only thing that bothers is that Prataya doesn’t explore his life back home much. The hint where a big point about his wife is revealed deserved to have some visible result on the climax giving it a complete arc. Apart from that ‘Mein, Mehmood’ manages to do what it intends to and more.