A boy is in love with a girl until he discovers that she is in love with another woman. This, before India’s independence. Naturally, that changes the nature of the examination of the inequality between the sexes and the repression of identities.

Best of all, unlike the case of most short films, audiences actually got to watch this one, shot lyrically in black and white.

Ravi Jadhav’s short film in Marathi, Mitraa, which won the National Film Award for Best Short Fiction, is one of the very few movies in the segment that has actually got a theatrical release. Of course, it was only because the film was part of a four-film anthology titled Bioscope. Or else, short films have a life only at festivals, special screenings, and on the Internet.

In an interview, Jadhav said, “Poetry, as an art form, is difficult to understand, and with this thought, I with three filmmakers, Gajendra Ahire, Girish Mohite and Viju Mane, set out to make a short film each, based on the work of a poet of our choice.”

Mitraa explores the theme of same-sex relationships based on Vijay Tendulkar’s Mitrachi Goshta, melded with the words of Sandip Khare’s poem, Udaasit Hya Konta Rang Aahe.

With impressive cinematography and attention to detail (spot a framed litho of Raja Ravi Verma’s Simhika and Sairandhri in a scene when the two women share a bed), the film has the canvas of a full-length feature.

And is any Indian film (even short) complete without a song? Mitraa sets to tune the poem it is inspired by.