Binnu Ka Sapna is streaming on MUBI.
Binnu Ka Sapna movie cast: Chetan Sharma, Anamica Kadamb, Suman Jain
Binnu Ka Sapna movie director: Kanu Behl
Binnu Ka Sapna movie rating: 3 stars
With Titli, Kanu Behl proved that he had sharp insights into the curdled world of those who live on the cusp of modernity but are steeped in archaic value-systems governed by soul-killing patriarchy, and deep misogyny. It was a striking, disturbing portrait of people and the situations that make them so.
Binnu Ka Sapna is a 32 minute short from the same director, and feels like an extension of his exploration of stunted masculinity. Binnu has grown up in a loveless home with a father who gets his jollies from slapping his mother around. The latter is clearly a more educated, accomplished individual, but is enmeshed in her life, and has found a corrosive connection with her abusive husband in a cup of ‘meethi, kadak chai’.
What does this do to the insides of a young boy? Can he ever break out of the cycle of suspicion and putative violence when it comes to women? Chetan Sharma does a good job of portraying an in-search-of-himself- Binnu as he jousts with an apparently accommodating boss and dispiriting sexual escapades, and his inevitable descent on to the dark side.
Behl’s use of a shortened screen size and experimental format matches his protagonist’s progression, and it adds to the feeling of unsettlement that the film is aiming for. But sometimes the jagged edges threaten to take over the slim run time of the film, and once in a while, you wish for less opacity.
But there’s no doubt that the film is a powerful testament to the build-up of messed-up testosterone when confronted with constant violence, of both the physical and mental kind. It is dark, disturbing and visceral: will Binnu be given a feature-length extension? I’d be very interested in where he goes from here.
MUBI’s streaming platform has just begun an India component, and if this is the way it means to go on, it will be a solid add-on to the OTT services available to us.