After being left by his lover, a rich jingle composer finds his addiction to smoking taking a dark turn when he is visited by the God of Death at his mansion. The god of death offers up a package of expensive cigars, that once they have been smoked will lead to a descent death. Battling addiction and constant trickery, the young jingle composer begins a descent into madness.
“Bedhab” acts as a sort of warped PSA, reminiscent of the famous story of the ‘monkey paw’. However, instead of fingers curled, we are left with cigars that need to be smoked, in order to ensure the downfall of the protagonist. Further mimicking the classic horror tale, the Jingle writer is faced with some force compelling him, or tricking him into smoking. Off of the back of the of a recognizable tale, director Akash Goila manages to create something unique, and humorous.
The production succeeds as a comedy largely off the back of the performance of Sanjay Kapoor, who plays the mischievous god of death. Whenever Kapoor appears on screen, he becomes the focal point, first appearing as a Dracula like figure, full of machismo and bravado, delivering all of his lines in a glorious, campy style. As if this performance was not enough, he appears in another form, a detective. Once again, the performance here is chalked full of camp, but complimented by over the top eccentricities that sho a larger comedic range. The rest of the performances are complimentary, but Kapoor’s performance really stands out, and gives reason enough to check out the short film.
The script of “Bedhab” is rather straightforward to start, establishing a strong anti smoking motto in a protagonist losing his love interest because of her disgust for the habit. What follows is out of a cautionary fairy tale, as the composer is propositioned with cigars that will eventually lead to his downfall. Even though the story feels familiar, there is a fair amount of absurdity peppered throughout that provides some memorable moments. Unfortunately, the second half of the production is a bit muddling, with a drastic shift in tone, and backed by misinterpretation of certain health services. Having a successful comedy, that still pushes the anti-smoking narrative become such a mess, is rather disheartening. Thankfully, The bulk of the production rests in the realm of dark fantasy, and the sloppy conclusion doesn’t marginalize the film’s successful elements.
The visuals within the production are complimentary to the story, and do a wonderful job of catching the mansion at different times. With the god of death arriving at night, rainfall, and the day, the location is well utilized and shot. The camera work is also complimentary and the cinematographer seems to understand how to best play into the comedic timing of its performers. The score, although a bit simplistic, does play out as the jingles the protagonist would write to frame his bizarre journey, ensuring further immersion into the more fantastical elements of the production.
“Bedhab” works best as a comedy, with a shift that makes it a bit too absurd to take seriously as an anti-smoking film. It makes the actual intent of the production rather blurred, and I found myself rather frustrated with the second act. Overall, the production does deliver some great comedic moments, (predominately through Sanjay Kapoor’s performance) and is well executed on a technical front. There is a lot of talent hidden throughout the production, it is a shame a rough ending stunts the production from being exceptional.