Shefali Shah is an exciting actress to watch. No matter how well you think you know her character, she and it always surprises you. Watching her turn a director in this very brief but original and sparkling film is reassuring.
Some actors never disappoint. Shefali is one of them. Happy Birthday, Mummyji is not her directorial debut. She has earlier directed another short-film Someday, which I haven’t seen. The one out on the public domain is a one-woman show. In every sense. Shefali not only writes and directs, she also stars in a film about the other, less menacing, more playful side of the lockdown.
Without giving away the plot, let’s just say Shefali plays an over-burdened wife, mother and daughter-in-law whose elaborate birthday plans, from flowers to catering, for the family’s matriarch goes for a toss when a lockdown is suddenly announced. Rather than mope grieve and sulk, she takes matters in her own hands and has herself a roaring blast.
The direction is light to the touch, breezy and wispy. Shefali has an instinctive understanding of a woman’s need for me-time. And that’s the core of the plot. Not preachy or condescending, but definitely a bit hostile to the male (we only hear her husband’s gruff uncaring voice on the phone). Happy Birthday, Mummyji, stealthily removes the ‘birthday’ plan and turns the rather bleak situation into a happy day for Mummy. Enjoy.
Image source: instagram/shefalishahofficial