Cast: Esha Deol, Rajveer Ankur Singh
Director: Ram Kamal Mukherjee
Esha Deol’s production banner titled Bharat Esha Films has released its first project in the streaming space. Directed by Ram Kamal Mukherjee, Ek Duaa stars Esha Deol and Rajveer Ankur Singh in the lead role. The short film only spans around 45 minutes and tackles the issue of female foeticide in India. The film also stars child actors Barbie Sharma and Shreyansh Nick Nag.
Set in Mumbai’s Muslim neighborhood, Esha Deol as Abeda belongs to a conservative Muslim family and is a mother and homemaker. While her husband Suleman, played by Rajveer Ankur Singh, struggles to make ends meet as a taxi driver, she is at home taking care of her old but bossy mother-in-law.
The starting few minutes establish the family’s debt-ridden situation and hand-to-mouth existence. The screenplay then leans towards highlighting how a female child is discriminated against in an Indian household while showering love and affection on the boy. The short film does not offer anything new and becomes predictable.
The characters, too, with their perfectly done hair and makeup, good clothes given their financial condition and emotions fail to strike a chord or even be relatable to any extent. They fall short on many levels with below-par acting, zero chemistry, and not even looking at their parts. The financial condition never really reflects on the characters but is limited to Suleman saying that there is a money crunch. Imagine Abeda
(Esha Deol) waking up every morning with fresh dewy makeup or going to sleep with her perfectly done hair. As a viewer, it is simply difficult to enter this world and be a part of it.
An important issue like female foeticide is treated with care but there is no novelty in the way director Ram Kamal Mukerjee is trying to capture it. The result is a slow and beating-around-the-bush kind of screenplay that will easily distract you with a phone notification. There is a full-blown song in the middle of the 45-minute short film which could’ve been done away with.
Ek Duaa’s plot twist lies in the end and fails to make an impression. While it drives home the message with a poem recited by Abhishek Bachchan, it is at best a mediocre attempt by Ram Kamal Mukherjee and team.