I think it’s fair to say that Over The Top (OTT) platforms have given storytelling a new lease on life as we have seen an increase in the consumption of world cinema. Parasite, Money Heist, Jallikattu are few such examples. Thanks to these OTT platforms, quality storytelling is no longer dependent on tentpole actors or larger-than-life technology. If an authentic story is told with an earnest effort, chances are such storytelling will see the light of day. One such web series is Cutting – a Gujarati web series available on OHO Gujarati platform in India.
Directed by Pratik Rajen Kothari, Cutting is the first of its kind Gujarati anthology web series consisting five episodes of 10-mins each. Each episode contains a short story that showcases different challenges faced by people from different walks of life. Every episode ends with an anecdote about life and connecting these different stories are the web-series main actors Sunny (Mayur Chauhan) and Bobby (Hemang Shah). Sunny and Bobby are brothers who have inherited a haircutting salon named ‘Perfect Look Salon’. Both brothers are passionate but for different things. Sunny is passionate about hair-styling and Bobby is passionate about being successful and it is their squabble that forms the soul of the web series.
Known for his impactful performances in previous Gujarati films such as Machchhu and Karsandas Pay & Use, Mayur Chauhan has given a spirited performance as Sunny. Chauhan’s body language and mannerism would make people nostalgic about the time they have spent interacting with their hair-stylist/barber at an Indian salon. Complimenting Chauhan is Hemang Shah who plays the role of Bobby. If Chauhan’s character gives us a voice of reasoning, Shah’s character shows us a glimpse of an opportunistic world. Shah’s impeccable timing and dialogue delivery of asking questions at an inappropriate time give us plenty of memorable scenes throughout the web series. Very few people know that this is not the first time both actors have come together. Their first project together was in 2017 in Karsandas Pay & Use and I think it is fair to say that both actors have grown stronger in their craft. Marshalling the troop, we have Pratik Rajen Kothari as the director. Kothari has done a splendid job directing all five episodes. Kothari’s direction is so immaculate that even though the entire web series is shot in a small salon, the spatial limitation becomes irrelevant as the audience is completely hooked on to the stories they are watching. This isn’t the first time Kothari has received accolades for his direction. His previous film ‘Grill’ was recently picked up by Disney+ Hotstar as a part of its curated short films. I am confident that we are going to see more from this talented young director in the future.
As a devourer of world cinema, I have always enjoyed watching international films. For this reason, I was so happy to see a fresh, simple, and entertaining web series in my mother tongue. ‘Cutting’ is definitely a feel-good web series that can be enjoyed by everyone in the family.
Reviewed by Puneet Ruparel