Starring Aparshakti Khurraana, Geetika Vidya, Mallika Dua

Directed by Manasi Jain

Rating: ***(3 stars)

While the nation is in a swoon over Ashwini Iyer Tiwary’s short-film Ghar Ki Murgi another short-film from the same producers (Royal Stag) released a few weeks earlier and has gone largely unnoticed.

A pity, as it features the remarkably talented Aparshakti Khurrana who I believe is more talented than his star-brother Ayushmann, more equipped to convey complex emotions. Here in the time-bound Nawab Aparshakti plays Nikhil an abandoned husband who refuses to abandon their dog after his wife leaves him.

The fleeting blithe film moves quickly through three segments of denial and acceptance. Nikhil won’t accept responsibility for the dog Nawab. Nikhil tries to get rid of him. Nikhil is reconciled to the presence of his canine companion. Aparshakti takes us through all the 3 stages of his character’s flash-journey with clarity of emotions that most of our actors do not display in full-length feature films.

He is doleful and disbelieving when his wife played by Geetika Vidya (the abused house-help in Thappad) leaves him. He is hopeful when he approaches his sister-in-law (Maria Goretti) to take care of the dog but she begs off saying she barely has enough energy, time and space for her two sons (good point there about how being an animal lover is not enough to adopt a pet).

My favourite section of Nawab is in the dog-care centre where Malika Dua and Khurrana are interactively agile as she takes him through all the excuses for not keeping the dog until she wears him down.

Nawab is a bright, perky, relevant and intelligent short-film. I want to see more of writer-director Mansi Jain’s work. And I want to see Aparshakti get the same fame as Ayushmann, if not more. Or does fate only allow one star in every family?