Most of us got to know about Nuhash Humayun's horror short 'Moshari' from the praise it received from judges and audiences at numerous film festivals overseas. The film has won ten international awards so far, which includes three Oscar qualifier awards – Best Short and Governor of Tokyo Award at SHORT SHORTS & ASIA, Best Narrative Short at Atlanta Film Festival, and Mark Braunstein Award and Best Narrative Short at Woodstock.
Moshari could end up being a strong contender for the Oscar nomination for 2023. Bangladeshi audiences have been waiting patiently for the short's local release, and in recent weeks Nuhash has made the film available for streaming on his vimeo for free. So, is it any good?
Set in a post-apocalyptic Dhaka, Moshari begins with a little girl named Ayra (Nairah Onora Saif) praying to find a dead cow. Her elder sister Apu (Sunerah Binte Kamal) demands that they go back home before it gets dark.
Half of the world has been destroyed by the catastrophe brought on by mosquitos, but somehow Bangladesh survived.
Ayra was innocent and curious about the outside world and Apu served as a parental figure trying to ensure both their safety. The characters were very well written and the chemistry between the two sisters felt real.
At night, the two take spelling pills and sleep inside a moshari (mosquito net). Ayra, being curious about what goes on after dark, skips the pill given to her by her sister one night. She later finds something lurking in the dark right outside of their moshari.
The story is good and might initially seem like another horror movie, but upon closer inspection you will find deeper messages scattered throughout. It speaks out against social norms and stigmas.
First world countries often look down upon us, yet it was the underdogs in the story who survived the apocalypse. The creatures of the night prey on young women like a lot of men in the real world, and the concept of girls not being allowed to go out after dark is another traditional norm in our society.
Nuhash presented these ideas quite boldly through his film and these additions gave the short a lot more meaning. It is a testament to how much can be said in just 21 minutes of storytelling.
The art direction, cinematography and editing made the film a very compelling watch. Ejaj Mehedi's camerawork was just perfect and the editing was crisp, connecting all the pieces together. The colour grading also complimented ambience, making it such an engaging experience.
Moshari is not just another horror film, it is so much more. The film is scary, engaging and speaks out for the marginalised. The art of storytelling is getting more and more innovative with each passing day and Nuhash Humayun is undoubtedly one of the leaders in the Bangladeshi film industry. We can't wait to see where he goes next.
So is Moshari worthy of winning an Oscar? Only time will tell. But it would definitely be ground breaking to see a Bangladeshi film nominated for the award for the first time ever.