‘Last Film Show’ has been selected as India’s Official Entry to the Best International Feature Film category at the 95th Academy Awards. Written and directed by Pan Nalin, ‘Last Film Show’ is a Gujarati film that beat many famous pan-India films like ‘RRR’ and ‘Kashmir Files’ on its journey to the Oscars.
Seemingly, a very close and personal project of the director, ‘Last Film Show’ or ‘Chhello Show’ casts Bhavin Rabari as Samay, the young boy, Richa Meena as Samay’s mother, Dipen Raval as Samay’s father, Bhavesh Shrimali as Fazal, along with Paresh Mehta, Vikas Bata, Rahul Koli, Shoban Makwa, Kishan Parmar, Vijay Mer, Alpesh Tank & Tia Sebastien. The film has a group of producers, editors and creators that have put a lot of thought and money into making this raw and earthy film. In this day and age of masala cinema, such art films try to make their mark with all their might. Hopefully, ‘Last Film Show’ succeeds in delivering the same beauty as is in its trailer.
The film is about a young boy from the rural living class in a small town of Gujarat whilst seeing big dreams of movies and more. The trailer is a masterpiece. It doesn’t reveal much but simultaneously takes its audience on a journey filled with nostalgia. It is set against the backdrop of the disappearance of 35mm celluloid film and India’s unique single-screen culture. The young boy is seen working at a tea stall and then again assisting the projectionist in the operation of the film rolls. The trailer includes glimpses of them enjoying film dialogues and dancing to joyous songs. The trailer breaks into multiple short scenes only giving us a brief about the characters, the setup and the plot. It also takes a low tone taking us to the sad side of the diminishing reel-film era. The boy in all his innocence says that he loves the light, for light turns into stories and they further turn into movies and this itself is the soul of the film, the light and the stories that we tell through them.
The movie is based on a time before the advent of mobile phones, streaming platforms, or access to film schools. Samay’s journey captures a child’s beauty in the world of innocence. It speaks volumes of the unadulterated joy of storytelling and cinematic creation. It is Samay’s dream to catch, control, cut and project that light to tell stories. Films that show an India which dares to dream are a gift in disguise because this country has a lot to offer and to capture that in stories is the ultimate success of the cinema of the country. How this film does pan-India depends on its merit and how relatable a boy’s journey to his dreams is to others.
Last Film Show (Chhello Show) will have a theatrical release on 14th October 2022.