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The Independent Critic

Rani Kumari, Renu Kumari, Saurabh Saraswat, Krishna Negi, Salma Khatoom
Karishma Dev Dube
17 Mins.


 "Bittu" Wins Student Academy Award 

Rani Kumari as Bittu

Writer/director Karishma Dev Dube's 17-minute short film Bittu centers around the close friendship of two young schoolgirls, Bittu (Rani Kumari) and Chand (Renu Kumari), whose energetic day of friendship and squabbles, friendship and squabbles experiences tragedy in what is otherwise a seemingly mundane day. 

The film picked up a slew of awards along its festival journey including a Student Academy Award Silver Medal for Narrative (Domestic Schools) along with Best Live Action Short by a Woman Filmmaker at Yellowstone International Film Festival, Best Director - Narrative Shorts at HollyShorts, and Best Student Film at Denver International Film Festival. 

The film benefits greatly from the warm, emotionally honest lensing of Shreya Dev Dube and a poignant score by Arooj Aftab. Dube maintains a gentle pace for the film, a rather straightforward story that builds to a tragedy inspired by a real story. 

The film also benefits greatly from the twosome of Rani Kumari, a precious and playful girl as Bittu, and Renu Kumari, the more studious of the two as Chand. However, it must be noted that the overall ensemble is quite strong including Saurahb Saraswat as the disciplinarian teacher and Salma Khatoom whose mid-day meal goes wildly awry. 

Eligible for the Academy Awards this year, Bittu is a memorable film that marks a promising effort by Karishma Dev Dube. The film grabbed the attention of Priyanka Chopra, who shared information through social media and has joined efforts to obtain education for its two young co-stars. 

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic