I had initially planned to watch this short film way back in May when it originally released. I couldn’t for almost five months. That’s just the nature of time. It flies as other preoccupations take priority in our lives. But the power of art is such a singular and all-encompassing force that it comes right back to us. Time, it seems, was watching you collect your influences, file them in a vestibule of memory and gently nodding in order to let us make our choices. Profound art is like an emanation, it reaches the soul sooner rather than later.

THE MINIATURIST OF JUNAGADH, written and directed by Kaushal Oza, fulfills all of the promise that I had held from this work. It is simple and profound in equal measure where the passage of time shakes hands with artistic legacy. It is a temporal point in one’s memory where a few hours transcribe a long day’s journey into night, in an era where polarisation defeats human relationships, only to have the latter’s restorative agency bounce back with an uncanny, unpolluted grace. Art and its holistic approach transcends man-made forbidden lines. Art enables a conversation, a transformation, a secular undercurrent that doesn’t simmer so much as it calms stormy waters.

Hence, this tale set in the simmering yet silent continuum of Partition era Western India is judiciously suited to our communally stricken present. But just like good words and deeds outlasted internalised biases then, beautifully illustrated here, we have to put a premium on human kindness even if our common enemy is the ignoble fiend of all- IGNORANCE. Patience is the best friend that moves mountains. It is aptly used as a motif, in the twenty-nine minutes employed for storytelling in this instance.


One man’s( Naseeruddin Shah) artistic legacy puts things in perspectives. Another’s( Raj Arjun) willingness to let the light in his heart shine brighter than the lure of property and doubts lingers in the event of  beautiful camaraderie between both that is built around pauses and observations, around words.

The patient forbearance and reason that actually makes this possible is courtesy the mother-daughter duo( Padmavati Rao and Rasika Dugal respectively) here central to preserving not just a legacy but the last vestiges of humanity. They are guardians of a continuum of culture that will prevail even as homes are left behind and then reclaimed by other occupants. At least, there will be a humility, a balancing of the scales. Instead of a grand or forlorn farewell, there will be a possibility of return.

THE MINIATURIST OF JUNAGADH achieves all of these with an appropriate register of setting, speech, background music and cinematography. The screenplay is conscientious and detailed, just like the titular miniaturist delineates his creative process even in the absence of optical vision.

Above all, the performers are elegance personified ; a further testament of Naseer Sahab’s timeless presence, brilliance and natural dignity can be cited here.

I ask all discerning viewers to be mesmerized by the measured rhythms of this short. It will leave one with a deep appreciation for upholding hope, no matter how emotionally stunted, woebegone or cynical we are at the start of our sojourns.



Trans, in its original dictionary meaning, is a prefix derived from Latin meaning across or beyond. I wanted to make that specific when writing about this 29 minute short on Georgie Stone. I wanted to remind people of the beauty of words and how human interpretation shaping social relationships renders the meaning, intent and resolve behind them obsolete. Trans is a word that is a casualty of boastful human intervention.  But to this writer, it’s a prefix that builds worlds. Think about how the origin of an individual, text or a work of art finds deep resonances when ‘translated’, ‘transliterated’ or ‘transformed’ to reach millions.

That’s the power of a word. In the hands of teen activist Georgie Stone, ‘trans’ is reclaimed in the context of hope, change and equality going ‘across’ constraints of the law, to reach ‘beyond’ this generation.

Director Maya Newell uses home videos, snippets of interviews and an optimistic tenor to thread together a meaningful collage of an extraordinary life that just aspires to achieve basic human dignity as an individual. In effect, the fight is for Georgie Stone and other trans kids who are looked at as ‘others’ and regrettably so.

The documentary style always turns out to be a beacon for representation.  Newell distills the innate humanity of a family and a teenager to create a contemporary archive for our socially conscious times. Compassion and inclusivity are the calling cards here.

Just looking at the innocence of a young person and their genuine sense of hope for a better life, for a whole posterity, will make one wonder how  countless others can possibly be cruel to them. The clarity espoused in THE DREAMLIFE OF GEORGIE STONE brings in positive glimmers, for a future built on recognition of humanity. I absolutely loved it.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s