Short Film ‘Infected 2030’: Fear & Loathing in the Pandemic

As the title suggests, the movie is set in the future 2030 AD, where people are struggling with a virus for which there is still no cure. The short film starts with a couple, in a high rise in Mumbai, overlooking the Worli Sealink, where the wife Shivika is lying infected in the bed, while hubby Manik does the daily chores and takes care of her.

It’s a very depressing tale where the couple has zero interaction, as Manik places the breakfast on her side table and just leaves, while Shivika is cooped up in the room that’s covered with plastic sheets, from wall to wall. It probably means that, the plastic is disposed off every few days, and fresh ones placed, so that the doors, walls, windows and ceilings remain clean. That itself paints a grim picture of how life would be, if we are not able to find a cure for the current pandemic which has clenched the entire globe.

Meanwhile, Manik visits the doctor to obtain medicines and complains about how its been two months and there are no signs of either a cure or improvement in her status. He has no good news to give his wife, and even their communication has broken down due to the wall of insecurity, lest the virus gets to him. Shivika misses the togetherness and craves for a soft touch.

In one romantic gesture, we see that both of them sit across the divide of the door, and have a hearty chat. Such small gestures go a long way in improving a person’s mood. The movie depicted the separation and loneliness pretty well, but it did not bring out, by way of photo album or some banter, the warmth and affection that they may have previously shared.

Yes, the future isn’t really bright at the moment, even with covid. Even if one person in any part of the world is infected, then no one is safe. We shall keep seeing wave after wave, until each one of us is inoculated. Manik has the same fear, which keeps him away from his wife.

The movie ends on an open note, left to viewers interpretation. But it does tell that, whatever happens, we should not stop conveying our heartfelt messages, and that we should commune openly and comfort people around us; else, the sick and the slowly recovering people, will go into a shell. Manik, played by Chandan Singh, does a fine job of the silent sufferer, the one affected but not infected. His quiet act carries a lot pain. Chandan is also the writer and director the short film; so, he comes out as an allrounder.

But Noyrika Bhateja, is the one to watch out for. The way she played Shivika, was very delicate. She had the right expressions, that actually makes you feel for her solitariness. She misses the regular life, the outside world; she wants to peep out of the room, just to get a glimpse of the house that she has probably forgotten after being isolated for two months in a 12×12 room. I just hope this pandemic doesn’t last until 2030, else sooner or later, each one of us will become a Manik or a Shivika!

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