Sthreepart- Emotionally-matured, Socially-engaged and Finely-acted masterpiece.

The black screen fades off and opens to a scene where one of the female leads of the film, Anupama Kumar, is at the gym. She, a successful corporate lady, has just finished her workout and a film director conveys that he is about take a film about working women and that he needs some input.  She simply shrugs her shoulders and innocently replies that she goes to the theatres for popcorn and that she might not really be of great assistance in generating ideas for his film.

She smiles.

And she quickly retorts with sarcasm, “Why not take a film about working men?”

Now, I smiled.

The first few minutes of a movie can really make or break the rest of the film. It is the job of the filmmaker to paint the picture of the world we are about to enter. Sthreepart, directed by Barath Neelakantan has certainly hit the nail right on the head. Both metaphorically and literally. 

The scene is further intensified with more thought-provoking questions from the female lead as she calmly shoots questions such as , “Go and Google, types of women and even if that categories women by shape? and women are classified as 6 fingers deep, 9 fingers deep, 12 fingers deep...depth of what? 

Sthreepart is a film about about a busy Valentine's Day of a young married woman, Durga. The story unfolds with an array of life-changing events for Durga, which may or may not have been influenced by the women around her. The film depicts women's strikingly different takes on marriage, infidelity, trust, plight of working women and vengeance.

The entire 40-minute film travels on a non-linear narrative which makes it an intriguing tale. I love films that respect the viewers. Yes, by treating us as an intelligent audience, Barath’s gift of story-telling makes Sthreepart a delight to watch. We live in an age rich in feminisms. Every question asked by the women in the film pierces the heart. Every dialogue transforms us like fragments of an explosive bullet. Every scene bombards us with thoughts on how we treat women and how women survive amid the chaos.

There is a scene where the 4 ladies would have finished night shift. 2 of them call their respective husbands. One woman apologises to her husband and assures that she will come home soon and prepare dinner for him. Another woman, calls her husband and requests him to prepare 2 dosa for her. When he enquires if it needs to be prepared immediately, she politely tells him to do it when she is 10-minutes away from home so that the dosas can be served hot.

No one could have illustrated reality as beautiful as this. Are women powerful? Are they vulnerable? or they are vulnerably powerful?

The cast is exceptionally gifted. Everyone's performances are phenomenal. Anupama is my favourite of course! Her dialogue delivery makes it everything unfolding on screen feels like something that must surely have happened off screen. It is the seeming lack of effort to build up melodrama that makes this such an intense, suspenseful and emotionally consuming viewing experience.

The fascination of watching a skilled filmmaker dissect the emotions of the sinned and sinned-against, both referring to women, strikes a deeper chord for short film lovers.  A highly promising film, Sthreepart, joins Tamil short film industry’s growing canon of emotionally-matured, socially-engaged and finely-acted masterpieces.


After watching the film, I sent a congratulatory message to the director who I have never seen or met before. Thanks to facebook for the easy and fast communication. I have always wanted to know the thought-processes that go behind in the making of such brilliantly-crafted stories. And Barath, agreed to do my first interview for this blog! Thanks once, again Barath!

1) I read that you were working in a corporate company before becoming a film-maker. What inspired you to make films? How was the transition from corporate world to the film-industry?

Image result for sthreepart 
I used be an HR Manager, and was handling recruitment. Recruitment was all about meeting different types of people everyday and that helped the writer in me. I have always wanted to tell stories and that is why I wanted to do film making. Transition was very difficult but I have always explored new things, and hence loved the difficult part of this transition

2) What was your inspiration behind sthreepart?

The women around us.

3) What's the meaning of sthreepart?

During the early days of Theatre, lead women roles in plays were played by men, and the role was called Sthreepart, in the likes of Rajapart for the Protagonist and Kallapart for the Antagonist. This film is titled Sthreepart signifying women play their part, whatever it may be, Good, Bad or Ugly.

4) Since your film is about feminism, do you think feminism is misinterpreted in today's world? What are the some misinterpretations that you see today? How do you think we should handle it?

Yes, and We are still learning

5) What are some of the feedback you have gotten so far for Sthreepart?

Positive feedback overall. Content wise, some felt I have taken sides with women blindly, which is not true. This is just the story of Durga, and I have taken her side, which is not because she is a woman.

6) There are dialogues such as “From fucking to farting, they do it whenever they want.” Was it an intentional move to be bold enough to use the so-called vulgarities in your film?

Not all the women in the film do that. Actually only 2, and it is pretty common.

7) The film had a non-linear screenplay. Why did you opt for such a screenplay?

The non--linearity in the screenplay is to convey the influences Durga has over her ideas and actions. Also I wanted to challenge myself in writing. I am a big fan of Guillermo Arriaga (Screen writer of 21 Grams, Babel etc)

8. One of the strengths of the film that I felt, was casting. How did you go about choosing the right actors/actress?

Should I say Director's instinct! Glad that it worked!

9. What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?

A film with great characterizations works for me. I need to live of those characters for those couple of hours. That is what works for me, and for most of us.

10. What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?

It was Kamal Hassan always. He is not just one of the greatest entertainers, he is a visionary. Also the legends like Balumahendra, Maniratnam , well its going to be a huge list. Frankly I was introduced to the world cinema only in the last 5 years and I am continuing to explore daily. So for now Big fan of Alejandro González Inarritu, Tarantino, Majid Majidi and Asghar Farhadi

11. One of the female leads, who wants to punish her husband for the blunder he has made, takes a violent move. Do you think violence is a solution to feminism-related problems?

I do not want to generalise Durga's experience.
But if we chose to discuss further, I don’t know if we have even understood what violence is? Is it only physical? blood? Is it not mental? Is mental, not more  painful?
Many commented Durga should have walked away. 
My response is, to quote Manya from the film "இதெல்லாம் இவனுங்க மன்னிப்பு கெடச்சிடும்னு நம்பி பண்றது கெடயாது. நமக்கு மறத்து பொயிடும்னு நெனச்சு பண்றது. அது எவ்ளோ பெரிய தப்பு?”

(Translation: Men don't do this, thinking that they would be forgiven, but that we would be fed up of it.)

12. so, what is your next project?

Completing my feature film script. Also writing a story for an yesteryear successful actor's comeback.