Can one incident change the way our morals lead our professional life? Has the need to succeed taken over our ability to adjudge right from wrong? That is the theme explored by Adeeb Rais’ well-meaning short film, aptly titled ‘Dafan,’ which has premiered for public viewing on Youtube.
What is the story about?
In ‘Dafan,’ Rais plays a young and up-and-coming employee in a construction firm. He is noted by his boss to be the ambitious, bright, and dependable man who will achieve greater things in the company (and perhaps, carry the mantle forward). So after a freak accident of one of the labourers on a construction site, it is his responsibility to “bury” the issue. Will ambition take precedence over basic human decency, is what the film explores.
‘Dafan’ uses a seemingly small incident, especially in the grand scheme of larger corporate capitalism to shed light on a concern that plagues most young adults who are just starting out in the workforce - when we start off in that world, we hold in ourselves a certain idealism. And that idealism is usually sacrificed in the race to make more money, more fame or more glory. Rais’ protagonist, Vishal, experiences this incident pretty early on in his career, which enables him to come back to his previously held idealism. It would be interesting to see how this would pan out had the employee not been someone so young and bright-eyed, and instead someone with greater responsibilities and more years of harrowing experiences behind him.
Another matter is that of the blind faith Vishal’s boss keeps in the guy for dusting the issue under the rug. Vishal is clearly unsure of how to handle it, showing his obvious naivete in such matters. One would assume that something as pressing as the death of an employee, which could spell trouble for the company, would be given to someone a bit more experienced. Still, the entire premise is good and noble enough, albeit a bit predictable, to be explored in a short film. And there are smaller moments of realisation for Vishal through the mentors around him, to make the point effectively. It is unfortunate that the writing doesn’t explore the aspects of corporate exploitation and capitalism with any new or fresh revelation.
Vishal’s interactions are a bit hit-and-miss. There is a colleague who seems more like a ‘man Friday,’ teaching him the smaller tricks in the issue; an upstanding journalism intern played by Ahsaas Channa, who still has her moral radar pointing due north, and finally, the doctor who treated the labourer, played by veteran actress Neena Kulkarni. All the actors do a competent job even if their characters aren’t explored to their full potential. I’d have loved to see a greater role for the journalist.
Music & Other Departments
The film has been shot and edited well. It looks like a clean and crisp short.
‘Dafan’ is based on a conundrum that has been explored in many films in the past but the film does have competent production value.
Realisations may come suddenly but mentality doesn’t change overnight. Perhaps Vishal doesn’t have financial issues or a family to support, so him taking a drastic step at the end is more on the part of the viewer to determine whether an easy or difficult one to take, and that makes the stance taken by the film seem like a bit of a cop-out.
Did I enjoy it?
Somewhat. Doesn’t have anything new to say but not a bad attempt.
Do I recommend it?
Yes. It can be seen once.