Ahalya and Alma – drive the message beautifully

Ahalya and Alma – drive the message beautifully

It’s really interesting to find two short films so similar and good in concept and content, yet different from each other. I’m here talking about recently released Sujoy Ghosh’s short film Ahalya and the 2009-released critically acclaimed creepy animated film “Alma”. The first one has also been well received by netizens ever since its release on YouTube.

Indian director Ghosh who came to fame for his last directed suspense-thriller Kahaani has yet again proved his mettle with this 14-minute Bengali language short film Ahalya. For all of us in India or who are at least aware of Hindu mythology can very well link this film with the character in Hindu mythology Ramayan.

Watch the short film Ahalya

So, let’s first talk about the mythological characters. Ahalya was the most beautiful woman created by Lord Brahma. She was in fact the wife of a sage named Gautama Maharishi. Once lured by her beauty, God Indra comes in disguise of her husband and seduces her. Learning his wife’s adulterous nature, the sage cursed both and turned Ahalya into stone. The story goes like this.

In this short film as well, the director has kept the mythical names of those three characters but with a little twist to the story. Ghosh tries to make a statement by turning someone else into stone.

Now, let’s watch “Alma” and figure out on what context it’s similar to Ahalya and why I still believe that the similarity is mere coincidence.

Spanish animator Rodrigo Blaas, who is also involved in a number of Pixar projects, directs this 5-minute short film with no dialogue. This film is about a young girl named Alma who whilst walking along the street on a snowy winter day spots a doll on a shop window who appears to be look-a-like of herself. Out of curiosity, she then enters the shop but only to find several toys inside the shop. As she tries to reach to the doll which first caught her attention, she finds herself as a part of others resulting to her curiosity and greed.

Both the films are amazing in conceptualization and presentation. While one cannot refute the fact that Ahalya is inspired from Hindu mythology, it’s safe to say that “Alma” is original in every respect. At least, I have not seen any such other film. Nevertheless, both very successfully drive the core proverbial lessons such as “curiosity killed the cat” or “be careful what you wish for.”


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