The Astronaut And His Parrot was screened at the Wench Film Festival and said a lot in a rather short time!
When you come across a film that has an astronaut and a parrot as their main protagonist, the first thing you wonder is, “What are they going to do with this?” And tbh, I felt the same when I was about to watch The Astronaut And His Parrot at the Wench Film Festival and as soon as the film began, I was swept off my feet. Arati Kadav portrayed a beautiful story of an astronaut and a parrot that I didn’t know was going to make me cry but oh boy was it worth it! Ali Fazal gave the performance of his life as Iqbal Ali. But the parrot’s line delivery and the way he carried the whole film on his wings and made it fly even higher is what left me feeling mesmerised.
Iqbal Ali, the astronaut goes on a space mission but due to an accident, his spaceship explodes and leaves him tumbling in space. While he’s still floating in space, he frantically tries to connect with someone to pass on his last message to his daughter. He’s not able to contact his peers on mission control so the frequency messes up and reaches a shop in Dwarka with a parrot on other side of the call. Will the parrot be able to learn the message and deliver it to Iqbal’s daughter? Just like this short film, this too is left for the audience’s interpretation.
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Watching this movie made me feel like I want to be an astronaut but it also made me realise what they really go through. Arati’s smooth execution of some scenes made me wonder if they were actually shot in space like that one scene where it felt like it was snowing but really it was a meteor falling apart. This short film also has a distinct homegrown element to it since Arati wanted to make a low-budget sci-fi movie with echoes of Gravity and Interstellar. From conversations with the director at the film festival, we found out that this entire short film is shot on iPhone 12 Pro and instead of using a green screen, the entire space scene was shot on a black screen. All of these bits make us feel like Arati has definitely perfected the art of making low-budget sci-fi movies.
Overall, the film didn’t lose its audience in its 15 minutes of pure space magic. The only problem I had with this film is that it felt too short even for a short film while it had the potential to be a feature. Besides that, I have a love and hate relationship with the fact that the ending is kept open to the audience’s interpretation. I guess we’ll have to wait till Arati gives us some tea on it!
The Astronaut And His Parrot was screened at The Wench Film Festival, India’s first horror film festival.
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