Custody is an intense, intelligent, emotional whodunnit that takes you abruptly

Ambiecka Pandit’s short film is masterfully executed and will keep you captivated until the end.

Life has a way of making us blind, and in today’s pandemic-ridden times, that is truer than ever. Ambiecka Pandit’s short film Custody examines this thought on a normal day, but with unexpected consequences.

It seems like an ordinary evening when a group of old friends decide to hang out at home together at a New Year celebration. The couples are busy getting dressed and deciding where to go to the party. We see one of the friends, Akram, who is trying to resolve an issue with his estranged wife regarding their son and learns that he is in the process of finding out custody of the child. However, a fire breaks out in the hosts’ house, endangering their baby’s life.

Like a slowly dissolving, tight coil, custody amplifies the tension and creates an atmosphere of tension. The film changes in tone with tragedy as the friends try to figure out who is responsible for the fire. Various characters become objects of suspicion and their real selves, morals, and faded interpersonal relationships can be seen as they deal with the situation. It also makes us think about young parenthood and responsibility.

It is believed that the film is going in a certain direction when it suddenly changes course and slowly sucks us into the vortex of drama that unfolds before our eyes. In the blink of an eye, the Happy-Go-Lucky group transforms, while the air becomes corrupt and full of suspicion. In all of this, the tragedy turns it into an emotionally bloody drama.

Product of good writing is a joy to see and custody doesn’t disappoint. The performances of Sanghamitra Hitaishi, Karan Pandit, Tanaji Dasgupta and Swaroopa Ghosh give their characters authenticity. Pandit plays around with the title, leading us down a path and postponing the meaning until the end of the film.

Custody is a clever film that is masterfully executed. It keeps you tied until the end and makes you think about the characters long after the movie ends.

The film will be screened at the upcoming Los Angeles Indian Film Festival (IFFLA).

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