Experiencing Interruptions?

Mumu Shelley

Shelley, 23, a small-town lesbian with a tacky fashion sense and a blinding fascination of the ‘cool’ American life. She craves to function in a non-closeted relationship with her girlfriend, Mishti in Mumbai. Shelley is convinced that in America, they wouldn’t have to cave to these stupid ideas of arranged marriages to "top-category boys”. They could be open about their sexuality and even their fashion sense! Shelley wants Mishti to come out to her family, to “Fight, to get what you want.” They have decided to start with Mumu, Mishti’s older cousin, who might help arbitrate the tough conversation with the rest of the family members. "So tonight at dinner?", Shelley asks her sweet lover, Mishti. But Shelley arrives early, and is forced to hang out with Mumu, whom she has never met before.

Mumu, 38, a smiley, neurotic home-maker, delusional about most things, like from her absent husband to the friendly pervert across her window. Mumu is cited as an example of a perfect host, a perfect wife, to all the younger women in her extended family. But is she? Her marriage is as questionable as her cocktail concoctions. Ranjan is never home, and even if he is, he often smells of a stranger's perfume. Her one hand holds her glass world from shattering, while another holds a glass of vodka. When Mumu is put in a room with Shelley and her challenging “weird-girl" beliefs, all of Mumu's visceral fears come to life. 'What has happened to girls today?’. ’Why are they so weird?’. 'Why do they think they have so many options?’. ’Who will do the taxes if Ranjan leaves?’. And, ‘Will the plumber listen to me if Ranjan is not around?’.

(By the way, Mishti never shows, and Shelley realises that she's been dumped, the hard way. And Ranjan remains absent, and Mumu realises she’s been dumped, without knowing it.)

  • Batul Mukhtiar
    Kaphal, Lilkee, 150 Seconds Ago, Phobhabai, Nazar Ka Dhokha
  • Aiman Mukhtiar
  • Orange Peel Films
    Kaphal, Lilkee, 150 Seconds Ago
  • Pubali Sanyal
    Key Cast
    Maqbool, Saathiya, Juice, My Name is Anthony Gonsalves, Lilkee, Kaphal
  • Aiman Mukhtiar
    Key Cast
    Lilkee, Good Night Daddy
  • Vivek Shah
    Bariwali, Gurgaon, Khargosh, Lilkee, Kaphal
  • Aasif Pathan
    Baba, Mayasabha, Mona Darling
  • Vipin Bhati
    Sound Design
    Satyamev Jayate, Dhanak, Jodha Akbar, Garam Masala
  • Richa Mishra
    Sound Design
  • Anand Nambiar
    Feathers in the Dirt, Sadiq, The Phoenix State
  • Project Type:
    Feature, Short
  • Genres:
    Family, LGBTQ+, Independent, Dark Comedy
  • Runtime:
    50 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    May 15, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    30,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Bengali, English, Hindi
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Chicago South Asian Film Festival
    United States
    October 2, 2021
  • Beyond Borders: A Feminist Film Festival
    December 3, 2021
  • NFDC Film Bazar Viewing Room
    November 20, 2021
  • KASHISH Pride Film Festival 2022
    June 4, 2022
  • Out & Loud Pune International Queer Film Festiva 2022
    August 4, 2022
    Best Short Film 2022
  • Q Fest St. Louis
    United States
    April 4, 2023
  • Women's Day Reels
    New Delhi
    March 6, 2022
  • DIALOGUES Calcutta International LGBTQIA+ Film & Video Festival 2022
    November 18, 2022
  • SiGNS 2023
    February 12, 2023
  • Brine
    April 27, 2024
  • Swapbook-KMC
    February 18, 2024
Director Biography - Batul Mukhtiar

Batul Mukhtiar, an award-winning multi-genre director, writer and producer, works in Mumbai since more than 25 years.

Her feature film KAPHAL shot in a remote village of Garhwal with local children, won the Golden Lotus National Award for Best Children’s Film 2014, Best Director, Live Action at the Golden Elephant ICFFI 2013. It was nominated for Best Children's Film under Children’s Jury Main Prize and Golden Slippers at Zlin FF 2014.

It also screened at Mumbai FF (MAMI 2013), Goteborg IFF 2014, Busan IKFF 2014, Chicago South Asian FF 2014, Saga Stockholm Women’s IFF 2014, ICFF Bangladesh 2018 and more

KAPHAL and her other children's feature LILKEE continue to be shown in schools, children’s festivals and television.

Batul directed & edited an independent documentary feature, 150 SECONDS AGO in 2002. The film screened at prestigious festivals like Cinema Du Reel 2003, Yamagata IDFF 2003 and the Yamagata Documentary Dream Show 2003-2004.

She studied Film Direction & Screenplay Writing from the prestigious Film & Television Institute of India, Pune. Her two student films PHOBHABAI and NAZAR KA DHOKHA screened at Clermont Ferrand ISFF 1996 and 1998 and Curtas Vila Do Conde IFF 1998.

Batul has recently produced and directed a mid-length independent feature, MUMU SHELLEY. She is currently working on an independent feature CAR POOL.

She also works as a producer on international documentaries for BBC, Channel 4, Netflix, Al Jazeera, Arte, CBC, NatGeo, YLE & VPRO.

Batul served on the National Award Jury 2015 and works on several juries and selection committees for FTII, National Institute of Design, Films Division, Indian Documentary Producers Association, Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, Toto Fund for Arts and MAMI Half-Ticket amongst others.

She conducts workshops in documentary and screenplay writing at National Institute of Design, FTII and Shristi College of Design.

Batul writes short stories and blog about films and books at http://batulm.wordpress.com/. Her scripts have been selected at various prestigious labs like Drishyam Sundance Lab 2016, Sundance Development Track 2019 - 1st round and NFDC Screenwriters Lab 2017.

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Director Statement

The film was a chance to explore those conversations which otherwise most women are taught to mute, which they are conditioned not to have, even with themselves. With the popping open of a bottle of wine, the gates break open to their inner animals, otherwise caged and protected. Breaking the silences is profoundly exhilarating, like finally living your favorite rock song, and seductively dark, like burning down in an enthralling spectacle.

Both Mumu and Shelley, despite their differences in age, sexuality, demeanour, are waiting to be rescued. Strangers to each other, not even liking each other very much, they wait at a party that never begins. Though Mumu and Shelley are obviously unlikeable, they are vulnerable, naive, hopeful. Forced into each other’s company, they are pushed into conversations that are not ‘correct’. But when they admit to all that is ‘incorrect’ in their lives, they are able to realise that no one can rescue them except themselves. The act of waiting together helps them carry on with their lives.

Visually shot with long takes, highly choreographed movements and dramatic close-ups, the rooted conversations balance out the absurd and dark comedy. The film sways between moments of real-ness to heightened Dali-esque surreality, all to encompass the true nature of a character's complete emotional breakdown.

As a filmmaker, I enjoyed the process of working on a chamber film, pushing choreography, production, performances and edit, towards a theatrical stylisation.

The restrictions imposed by a micro-budget, and a pandemic and national lockdown, became challenges overcome with the multi-tasking and involvement of every member of the small crew. The film has been a source of joy for all of us, in these difficult times. And I hope you will enjoy the experience of watching it too.