The London Film Review, written by Hannah Giles
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Written and directed by Khurum Khan, Rukhsati is a beautifully shot and highly effective short which tells of a close father/daughter relationship.
With the father, Bashir (Javed Khan) getting older and his health deteriorating, he wants his only daughter, Shenaz (Sheetal Kapoor) to get married and start her own life, but she’s reluctant to leave her father alone. As her wedding approaches, they go out for the day and Shenaz finds the strength to tell her father she doesn’t want to leave the home they share.
Overall, it’s hard to find fault with (Khurum) Khan’s film. Within the film’s running time of just 15 minutes, he has managed to construct an authentic, emotional and involving story about a dilemma many grown children and their ageing parents face.
However, in this case, it is Bashir who wants his daughter to leave and build a future with the good man he has picked out for her, while Shenaz wants things to remain the same. Over the years, she has assumed a motherly role and knows that if she leaves, her father would creep further into old age alone. She also values his friendship and wants to remain on their isolated farm, spending time with him as she did as a child. All of this comes through clearly with minimal exposition.
The film is lifted considerably by the acting of both (Javed) Khan and Kapoor, which is excellent throughout. They manage to convey an entirely believable father/daughter relationship, instilling their characters with great depth and warmth. They both fear for the future, but know deep down things have to change.
Wisely, (Khurum) Khan keeps the dialogue to the bare minimum, which prevents the film becoming too sentimental and maudlin. Instead, he lets the visual aspects drive the narrative. Indeed, it is the visual that almost takes centre stage here, as with its wind swept coastal landscape and galloping horses, Rukhsati is a true feast for the eyes.
However, at the heart of the film is the relationship between Bashir and Shenaz, and, to the credit of all involved, this is the part that will linger in the memory.
Excellent and highly recommended.