Bombay, 1997. A tailor named Anwar is taking measurements of a woman called Noor for stitching a pair of salwar-kameez. In an otherwise dark and dingy room, a ray of light shines through a small window. Noor smiles, albeit apprehensively as Anwar continues to do his job.
Noor is an Urdu word that loosely translates to light. The first sequence of the short film introduces us to the lead characters in a subtle fashion, and as the story grows, suddenly we are transported to 90s Bombay. Noor is a young woman who is married to an husband who had left her within the first week of their marriage to pursue his professional ambitions in Riyadh. It has been five long years of wait for Noor, a day when she hopes to meet the man she had married. Enter Anwar, a young man who works as a tailor down the lane. A man who has been waiting on Noor as she has been waiting for her husband. Anwar is played by Kartik Aaryan, who does the job of portraying the angst and happiness of a man in love well.
Meher Mistry’s Noor seems a bit off at a few places. However, for the most part, she does a credible job of a woman who has been biding her time to finally embrace love. Silvat is a short film that feels like a short story for the most part, and that is a good thing because it shows you that it’s a well-written script. The narrative is immersive and you are transported to the world of Anwar and Noor, you start rooting for them even though you know that their love is doomed.
There is a particularly moving scene where Noor laments about not buying a box of tea leaves to send her husband. “Mere zehen se utar gaya, main kaise bhul gayi, main kaise bhul sakti hoon?” (It completely escaped me. How could I have forgotten?). The subtle yet powerful scene shows the audience that Noor has moved on from her husband.
The word ‘silvat’ means crease and Noor and Anwar’s relationship undergoes its strains, and is lined with creases just like a slept-in bedspread. There is another wonderful scene where Anwar, without speaking a word, rages and throws a fit, his anger almost a confession. In his passion, he throws off Noor’s bedsheet. Following which Noor quickly arranges the bed, lest someone would know through the creases showing in the sheet that it has been touched.
Silvat is made up of such touching and telling moments, and effectively conveys the pain, tension and little pleasures of first love. The Tanuja Chandra short is currently streaming on ZEE5.