It is impossible to imagine an 8 minute story to encapsulate the most contemporary issues on human sexuality. From infidelity to homophobia travelling into the arena of social ostracism for the queer community, director Pradipta Ray does the unattainable. Ray, who has the most commendable trait of crisp editing, brings within his short film, tints and shades of a multiple raging issues.

The film that begins with a girlfriend denying sex to her lover, the story unravels another idea when it ventures into transgender community assumed to be desperate and available for the outrageous heterosexual folk! The film then moves into a social commentary about how we are celebrating corporate progressiveness and liberal minded vein of thought; yet the shackles of conservatism remain. As a character rightfully insists, that India still has a long way to go before cross dressers can eat a normal meal at restaurants. And finally the film is left on a continual mode as the night is still young and there is a long way to go before the break of dawn.

Raat Baaki
A still from ‘Raat Baaki’

What is striking about the film? It took many directors many minutes to convince on the depth of these issues distinctly. However, Ray takes credit for single handedly doing all of it in his lucid work on celluloid. Evoking applause in the end, it is solely a director’s film. His clear understanding of cinema helps in finally excavating out from the rubbles of dull, prudish and backward thinking, an un-warped cinema on queer issues. There are no moral standings, but more of a mere retelling of a host of instances fitted enigmatically together in the small time frame!

Winning laurels at the Kashish Mumbai Queer Film Festival patronized by veteran director Shyam Benegal, the film is one of the most striking ones made on the LGBT community without the direct motive of turning rebellious.

The film is tender, sensitive and non-judgmental. Clearly, you need a heart and an open mind to digest the palate served here. I recommend Pradipto Ray’s Raat Baaki for a host of reasons, the foremost being it is satiating much to see cinema making a social statement of issues so vulnerable. Though the issue is very dear to Ray’s heart, I assume this was his way of coming out vocal on how Queer is sidelined into realms of profane by a ruthless society!

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