'Majnu Ki Juliet': A great example of the true potential of short films as a medium for cinematic storytelling

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature

By Murtaza Ali Khan
Akhil Mishra and Suzanne Bernert on the sets of Majnu Ki Juliet
Akhil Mishra and Suzanne Bernert on the sets of Majnu Ki Juliet
Majnu Ki Juliet is a short film written and directed by the noted film and television actor Akhil Mishra who is best known for his work in films such as Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Gandhi, My Father, Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain, and 3 Idiots, among others. The short revolves around a young man who falls in love with a dupatta and his subsequent search for the owner of the beautiful dupatta. “We love to tell stories with a twist and in ‘Majnu Ki Juliet’ we wanted to show how easily imagination flies at young age. How a small thing can set of a whole dream sequence that comes to an unexpected end. And how a dupatta can play the heroine,” explains Mishra.

Majnu Ki Juliet stars Akhil Mishra, his wife and noted actor Suzanne Bernert, and a newcomer named Vinod Jain. It was shot in half a day with a crew of 6 including the actors. The music for Majnu Ki Juliet is composed by the German Ambassador to India, Walter J. Lindner, who is an accomplished musician and composer. On the day of the shoot, the crew had to deal with some unexpected rain which forced them to shift the shoot to the terrace of their neighborhood. Seeing the film it all looks very organic and so credit must go to Akhil and team for adapting so well to the changing weather conditions. The short film has been picked up by Six Sigma Films on YouTube.

Now, in today’s age of Youtube and Netflix, the short films and the series find them on the opposite side of the storytelling spectrum. They both are playing a vital role in enabling storytellers to tell stories that they want to tell in a most effective manner. Now, as far as the Indian entertainment horizon is considered we have really been privileged to witness some great experiments, both in terms of content and form, happening in both these areas in the recent years which have allowed us to explore the cinematic potential of the short films as well as the long form narrative. Majnu Ki Juliet is a great example of the true potential of short films as a medium for cinematic storytelling. The performances as well as the creative treatment succeed in putting together an engaging narrative.

Now, Akhil and Suzanne are committed to the form. “Short Films are a great way to reach audience. While we travel everyday to and from work we look to be entertained. And so we keep looking for a fun story or something that inspires. Akhil writes the scripts, directs and mostly also acts in them. We are planning to do more short films with a twist and we are currently shooting one while in Germany,” reveals Bernert who plays the mystery woman in Majnu Ki Juliet wherein she also doubles as producer. Bernert would next be seen in the ZEE5 series 'State Of Siege: 26/11'. The series is directed by American filmmaker Matthew Leutwyler.

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