What’s the story about?
Abhimanyu Jain (Rajeev Khandelwal), a former pilot, has been in a coma for three years, while his wife Saanvi (Anupriya Goenka) waits patiently for him to recover. However, as time passes by, Saanvi finds herself grappling with questions about what it means to be human, and whether any person, especially her husband, deserves to be in such a state when all doors seem to be shut? As she sets out to make a life-changing decision about the fate of her husband, Saanvi goes through a lot of pain and self-doubt while weighing the options she has.
Both Rajeev Khandelwal and Anupriya Goenka shine in their respective roles throughout the short film, and the credit goes to the writing which gives some depth to the characterisation of its two protagonists. Every time Anupriya looks at a switch or her husband, her eyes are filled with terror and guilt about what she’s being forced to do. And Rajeev himself makes quite an impression with his dialogue delivery and arguments about what it means to be human.
Although the short film, directed by Manu Chobe, never mentions it explicitly, Heartbeat makes a strong case for euthanasia. The narrative is quite straight-forward and quite early into the short film, it takes away its element of surprise about who exactly is Saanvi talking to. That Abhimanyu is shown as a living person comes across as an easy way out to simplify the internal trauma and confusion that Saanvi goes through. This, in turn, softens the punch which the short film tries to land mid-way; however, Manu Chobe relies quite a lot on his writing and the actor’s performances to drive home his message, and it works well. The conversations between Rajeev and Anupriya are quite philosophical and it gives a lot of depth to the story, which deals with such a sensitive topic.
Music & Other Departments
The best part about the short film is its writing and director Manu Chobe is quite clear about what he wants to say and how he wants to say it without beating around the bush for long.
Rajeev and Anupriya make quite an impression, but the soul of Heartbeat is its writing.
It’s quite possible that you can see the twist coming long before it’s shown in the short film; however, it doesn’t hamper the mood of the story to a large extent.
Do I recommend it?
Definitely. Heartbeat is a well-made short film which raises an important issue about what it means to be human and how long are we willing to let people suffer while hoping that things will get better. Moreover, it also delves into what it takes for people to move on in life and for that alone, this Zee5 original is worth a watch.