Festival News
29 November 2023 | Article
‘Next, Please’ Movie Review: Jim Sarbh, Shreya Dhanwanthry Bring To Life The Harsh Realities Of Urban Loneliness

‘Next, Please’

‘Next, Please’: Cast & Crew

Director: Rishav Kapoor

Cast: Jim Sarbh, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Shardul Bhardwaj

Available In: Premiered At Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival

Duration: 10 Minutes

‘Next, Please’: Story

A woman (Shreya Dhanwanthary) goes on a virtual reality date and is transported to a prohibition-era bar in her quest for love. The owner of this unique experience bar (Jim Sarbh) fixes her match with another similar stranger (Shardul Bhardwaj) with the help of Virtual Reality. Will the two finally find the soulmates that they’re looking for in this VR date? Will the two eventually hook up in real life as well? Or will there be a major turn of events which spoils everything? Well, for all that, you’ll have to watch ‘Next, Please’.


‘Next, Please’: Performances

After her initial couple of performances, Shreya Dhanwanthary has always given audiences characters that are hard to forget. Here she goes back to the simplicity of a girl-next-door, who’s always missing that old-world charm. The way she has kept her emotions minimal but to the point makes you want to meet this character in real life.

Jim Sarbh gives another alluding performance which draws you in. He swaps from one dimension to the other with such swift ease that you’re wishing to see this character meet more and more such prospective lonely men and women, and you want to see how his mind works when he talks to them. That numerous changes in his expressions are in itself worth the 10 minutes spent on this film.

Shardul Bhardwaj doesn’t have enough screen time, and his talent was an absolute waste here. He could have brought in a specific persona of his like Jim Sarbh did with the character, but sadly, there wasn’t anything novel about Shardul Bhardwaj’s performance.


‘Next, Please’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

Chaitanya Tamhane’s writing doesn’t veer away from the main topic of urban loneliness but where it falters is providing a solution. While youngsters are confused about their love lives in almost every city or town, but in bigger metros, there is an incessant need to have a social circle and be in a relationship, so that you don’t feel left out. Chaitanya Tamhane manages to bring the pathos of that out nicely but doesn’t provide any valuable solution. With VR and, in today’s times, Artificial Intelligence, it’s thought that there could be new innovative ways to tackle this loneliness and depression. If Chaitanya Tamhane had at least pointed the audiences towards a viable solution, that would have made the narrative wholesome and provided the viewer with closure.

Rishav Kapoor’s direction is good. He ticks all the correct boxes to make this a very pleasurable watch. From getting the music perfect to the attention to detail he puts into getting the period-perfect, Rishav Kapoor has done it all nicely. Where he falters is not being able to give the writing a possible closure in the eyes of the audience by not leaning towards any possible solution to this incessant human need to be in a relationship. Also, by keeping it a short film, and leaving it open-ended, he does well to keep the audience hooked for a second part or at least keep the audience guessing as to what would they do in a similar situation.

Priya Seth’s cinematography is another high point of the film. She is able to portray the difference between the two eras in question really well. There is a scene towards the climax where the two characters are brought out from the prohibition era right into the midst of the new-age generation. That scene hits you like a bolt of lightning.

Vedant Joshi’s editing is crisp and to the point. However, it could have been pushed a little in the pursuit of trying to give closure to the story.

The music of the film is breathtaking. It transports you to that era of prohibition. Listening to an original Madan Mohan composition after decades of him having passed away is a treat no doubt. The song, ‘Kadamon Mein Tere Aaye Sanam’ is a delicacy which a music connoisseur would love to have.


‘Next, Please’: Can Kids Watch It?



Outlook’s Verdict

‘Next, Please’ brings to the forefront the reality of today’s modern-day lives. From depression and anxiety to urban loneliness and the lust for being in a relationship are all so very well justified in this short film. The performances are good, but it’s the music and the cinematography that win you over completely. It’s a Breezy One Time Watch. I am going with 3.5 stars.