When Social Strata Makes Domestic Assistants Underestimated
“I don’t know how you’re managing it all by yourself.” – Shreya.
Cineverse doesn’t usually pick up short films from other countries. This time we will see a film that is quite phenomenal this week. This short film from India discusses issues of social strata that are very thick and still occur in the country.
In India itself, many issues like this are raised in the film media, in addition to other issues that are still happening in several states in India, such as issues of feminism, caste differences, religious minorities, and human trafficking.
An Indian YouTube channel, ContentkaKeeda has uploaded a short film entitled ‘The Maid’, which has the original title ‘Chichi Dirty’. We discuss in detail what this film actually looks like.
‘The Maid’ is directed and scripted by Surabhi Saral Sachdev. A number of players are included in this short film, such as Reyansh, Sai Deodhar Anand, Amrita Chowdhary, Ritu Chowdhary Seth, and Uruz.
Thanks to the crew and cast, ‘The Maid’ made it into 5 categories at various award shows, and managed to also win 2 awards at, California Film Awards and Independent Short Awards.
The ContentkaKeeda YouTube account itself seems to have 412 thousand subscribers and started joining YouTube on January 21, 2020. Since then they have never run out of content to share with viewers.
It is proven that they routinely create content every Thursday at 12.30 PM. Within three days, ‘The Maid’ has been watched by 160 thousand (when this review was made-ed), and will continue to increase every day.
‘The Maid’ itself tells the story of Shreya (Sai Deodhar Anand), a mother of a boy named Reyansh. Shreya has a profession as a working woman who has a Household Assistant (ART) named Shabana (Amrita Chowdhary).
Shabana looks related taking care of Reyansh when Shreya is busy with his work. At the beginning of the scene, Shreya visits the house of his co-worker, Juhi (Ritu Chowdhary Seth), and takes Reyansh and Shabana with them.
Shreya is then greeted with a very messy state of Juhi’s house. Juhi himself has one beautiful daughter named Ivana (Uruz). Juhi is very busy taking care of work, as well as her child, and takes the initiative to invite Shreya to do their work together at Juhi’s house.
Juhi has used ART services five times, however, many of thethemselves have only resigned after 3 months. Shreya then introduced Shabana to Juhi, and from the way Shreya introduced Shabana, Juhi’s eyes seemed to look down on Shabana.
Especially after Shreya told him that Shabana was a Christian. Indeed, religious sentiment in this country is an issue in many places, especially if we embrace a religion that is not the majority in India. We need to know, religion in India is majority Hindu with 79.8% and 14.2% Islam. India still looks down on minority religions.
Juhi offers Shreya cold water and they ignore Shabana who is playing with Reyansh. When Juhi ordered food, she only ordered two servings for Shreya and for herself.
Shreya, who is not feeling well with her ART, promises to buy out food instead. Shabana felt fine, then because of thirst, Shabana asked her employer for water. Of course Shreya agreed to the request.
But Juhi insisted on filling the gallon water himself into Shabana’s water bottle. Unknowingly, he spilled the water and wet the floor. Shreya felt quite aware of Juhi’s attitude that looked down on Shabana, and finally they decided to go home from that place.
When she got home, Shreya looked for the lipstick she had been looking for all this time. She looked in her bag, her dresser, and even in her wardrobe she couldn’t find her lipstick.
Shreya started thinking of many places where she could find the missing lipstick. However, there is one place that Shreya hasn’t looked for yet, that is in Shabana’s room. Did Shreya manage to find her lipstick in Shabana’s room? And was it true that he had suspected all along that Shabana had not been honest with him?
‘The Maid’ was impressive with a duration of only 10 minutes. Even though it’s short in duration, it doesn’t mean that the director doesn’t pay attention to the technical elements.
The score of this film appears to feel cohesive with the scenes it displays. The guitar strums start to sound fast when Shreya suspects Shabana’s room. And towards the end of the film, the ending strains began to sound slower.
For the scope of the cinematography itself, we can see that the shooting of ‘The Maid’ is mostly done in a closed and relatively narrow room. No shots were taken in an open space, it could be because the shooting was done during a pandemic. But visual limitations do not interfere with the film’s narrative, which appears straightforward with an implied message in it.
Sai Deodhar Anand performed very well in playing both sides of the character he played. On the one hand he defends his ART, but on the other hand he suspects his own ART.
Amrita Chowdhary also plays the character of Shabana who looks innocent, innocent, and obedient to her God. We can see this on the inside of the cupboard door when it is opened by the employer. We can faintly see the figure of Shabana’s God that he posted, as well as the photo of his son that he posted there too.
Ritu Chowdhary here becomes the antagonist character who plays the figure of Juhi, with his expression and sharp eyes when he looks at Shabana for the first time, and with his outspoken nature that reinforces his true identity.
Curious about the story? We can watch it on the Contentkakeeda YouTube channel. For those of you who like Indian films with social issues, ‘The Maid’ is suitable for you to watch, because it has an interesting storyline and is easy to understand.
Although there are no Indonesian subtitles yet, you can easily understand the storyline that is displayed in English subtitles.
Director: Surabhi Saral Sachdev
Cast: Reyansh, Sai Deodhar Anand, Amrita Chowdhary, Ritu Chowdhary Seth, Uruz.
Duration: 10 minutes