Jahnu Barua finds beauty in the mundane in his Alzheimer’s-themed short film ‘That Gusty Morning’

The short film focuses on the non-acceptance of people with dementia and the fate of their family members.

When Jahnu Barua was eight years old, there was a man in his village whom everyone called paagol (mad). Barua and his friends enjoyed spending time with the man, reminding him of names he had forgotten and laughing at his forgetfulness. Only years later did the filmmaker realise that the man may have suffered from dementia or, perhaps, Alzheimer’s. His innocence and interactions with the children stayed with Barua, whose short film That Gusty Morning is an ode to that man. That Gusty Morning has been uploaded on the Large Short Films YouTube channel.

The short charts one morning in the house of a middle-class family. Juree (Urmila Mahanta) and her father (Arun Nath) take care of the mother (Seema Biswas), who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. They are also worried about the possible reaction of Pronab (Kopil Bora), whom Juree wants to marry. Pronab is due to visit and formally ask Juree’s father’s for permission to marry Juree. How will the mother react – and how will Pronab react to her?

That Gusty Morning.

That Gusty Morning might remind some viewers of Barua’s Hindi film Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Mara, in which Anupam Kher plays a professor affected by dementia. Barua had written the story of That Gusty Morning while working on the 2005 film.

Barua consciously chose to use the short film format. “A shorter film has the chance to strike hard, shaking up people even if they haven’t directly met an Alzheimer’s patient,” Barua said. “Besides, releasing it online means it reaches more people.”

Barua’s focus is on the non-acceptance of people with dementia and the fate of their family members, who end up suffering too. Pronab notices that the family is not comfortable telling him about the mother’s illness, but he adjusts to the mother’s persistent questions without judgement.

“My characters are born out of my wishful thinking,” Barua said. “I do not wish Alzheimer’s upon anyone, but I wish for a better way of what can be controlled: society’s reactions to those living with Alzheimer’s and their families. It is one of my dreams to see a safe space created, like the way Pronab instantly offers to the family.”

The parents hold liberal values. Instead of agreeing to Pronab’s proposal, the mother asks Juree if she has given her consent. “I wanted to show that before she fell ill, the mother had a certain status as a teacher; a wise woman who respected her daughter’s independence and choice,” Barua said. Most of the female characters in his movies, which include Hkhagoroloi Bohu Door (1995) and Konikar Ramdhenu (2003), are drawn from his mother, who was educated till the second standard.

“My mother was always on the sidelines, but nothing moved in the house without her consent,” Barua said. “My father respected her tremendously while also being very protective towards her. That is the relationship I grew up watching and analysing. I learnt early on the power of a woman; that one need not be loud to be powerful.”

Seema Biswas and Urmila Mahanta in That Gusty Morning.
Seema Biswas and Urmila Mahanta in That Gusty Morning.

In That Gusty Morning, the father wakes up early, erasing marks on exam answer sheets so that his wife can work on them anew. The daughter applies paste to her mother’s toothbrush, and the father takes the mother to the bathroom for the morning ablution. We realise that this is a morning ritual.

Barua spent enormous amounts of time looking for the appropriate location. While the house seems to show refined tastes and cultural mementos, Barua also wanted to show that it had not been maintained for a while. Hence the peeling walls in the kitchen.

The characters are also traditional. It is typical of an older generation to have a house with a lace curtain and another thicker one. Every meal is eaten at the dining table, which is covered by a lace tablecloth, whereas the study table has a table cloth, often chequered. There is an antique dressing table with drawers and wood work, which indicates that the woman of the house may have brought it along during her wedding. The yellow shelf in the kitchen, the rustic refrigerator and the aluminum saucepan for tea are markers of everyday simplicity. Barua has once again scored in portraying beauty in the mundane.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

The ordeal of choosing the right data pack for your connectivity needs

"Your data has been activated." <10 seconds later> "You have crossed your data limit."

The internet is an amazing space where you can watch a donkey playing football while simultaneously looking up whether the mole on your elbow is a symptom of a terminal diseases. It’s as busy as it’s big with at least 2.96 billion pages in the indexed web and over 40,000 Google search queries processed every second. If you have access to this vast expanse of information through your mobile, then you’re probably on something known as a data plan.

However, data plans or data packs are a lot like prescription pills. You need to go through a barrage of perplexing words to understand what they really do. Not to mention the call from the telecom company rattling on at 400 words per minute about a life-changing data pack which is as undecipherable as reading a doctor’s handwriting on the prescription. On top of it all, most data packs expect you to solve complex algorithms on permutations to figure out which one is the right one.


Even the most sophisticated and evolved beings of the digital era would agree that choosing a data pack is a lot like getting stuck on a seesaw, struggling to find the right balance between getting the most out of your data and not paying for more than you need. Running out of data is frustrating, but losing the data that you paid for but couldn’t use during a busy month is outright infuriating. Shouldn’t your unused data be rolled over to the next month?

You peruse the advice available online on how to go about choosing the right data pack, most of which talks about understanding your own data usage. Armed with wisdom, you escape to your mind palace, Sherlock style, and review your access to Wifi zones, the size of the websites you regularly visit, the number of emails you send and receive, even the number of cat videos you watch. You somehow manage to figure out your daily usage which you multiply by 30 and there it is. All you need to do now is find the appropriate data pack.

Promptly ignoring the above calculations, you fall for unlimited data plans with an “all you can eat” buffet style data offering. You immediately text a code to the telecom company to activate this portal to unlimited video calls, selfies, instastories, snapchats – sky is the limit. You tell all your friends and colleagues about the genius new plan you have and how you’ve been watching funny sloth videos on YouTube all day, well, because you CAN!


Alas, after a day of reign, you realise that your phone has run out of data. Anyone who has suffered the terms and conditions of unlimited data packs knows the importance of reading the fine print before committing yourself to one. Some plans place limits on video quality to 480p on mobile phones, some limit the speed after reaching a mark mentioned in the fine print. Is it too much to ask for a plan that lets us binge on our favourite shows on Amazon Prime, unconditionally?

You find yourself stuck in an endless loop of estimating your data usage, figuring out how you crossed your data limit and arguing with customer care about your sky-high phone bill. Exasperated, you somehow muster up the strength to do it all over again and decide to browse for more data packs. Regrettably, the website wont load on your mobile because of expired data.


Getting the right data plan shouldn’t be this complicated a decision. Instead of getting confused by the numerous offers, focus on your usage and guide yourself out of the maze by having a clear idea of what you want. And if all you want is to enjoy unlimited calls with friends and uninterrupted Snapchat, then you know exactly what to look for in a plan.


The Airtel Postpaid at Rs. 499 comes closest to a plan that is up front with its offerings, making it easy to choose exactly what you need. One of the best-selling Airtel Postpaid plans, the Rs. 499 pack offers 40 GB 3G/4G data that you can carry forward to the next bill cycle if unused. The pack also offers a one year subscription to Amazon Prime on the Airtel TV app.

So, next time, don’t let your frustration get the better of you. Click here to find a plan that’s right for you.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Airtel and not by the Scroll editorial team.