short films

Silent short film ‘Sisak’ is about a love that dare not speak its name

Faraz Arif Ansari’s film is about two men who meet in a local train compartment in Mumbai.

Faraz Arif Ansari’s 20-minute short film Sisak is being billed as India’s first silent queer love story. “It is a first,” the 30-year-old director asserted. “The idea was quite simply about glances that are exchanged in silence in Mumbai’s local train compartments.” Those furtive glances carry more than the burden of unspoken feelings.

Sonam Kapoor launched the trailer of Sisak on January 30 on Twitter. The film will be shown at various film festivals and is expected to be premiered at Cannes in May. Ansari has worked as an assistant director on Amole Gupte’s Stanley Ka Dabba (2011) and Sonam Nair’s Gippi (2013). Sisak is Ansari’s second short film. His first short, Siberia (2015), was about a woman looking for an imaginary rat in her house.

Sisak follows two young men (Jitin Gulati and Dhruv Singhal) who take the same local train home every day. As the film progresses, the shy and reticent men gravitate close enough to say something to each other, but they cannot muster the courage to open their mouths. The story can be seen as an allegory on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises homosexual sex.

Sisak (2017).

Ansari drew inspiration from his own experiences to write and direct the film. He was going through a rough patch in his personal life and career in 2013 when the Supreme Court struck down a previous Delhi Court order in 2009 that decriminalised the colonial-era law. Ansari could see parallels in both situations.

The Supreme Court order sent India’s queer community back into the closet. Meanwhile, Ansari was unable to make any headway with his film script, which was rejected by several productions companies.

“I had written a feature script with a gay lead character,” Ansari said. “I took it to every production house and they showed interest but did not have the wherewithal to make it. I decided to make Sisak the way I wanted to. It is a personal film but also a political statement about the law that silences the community.”

Since funding was a problem, Ansari used his savings to produce the short film. The post-production expense was crowdsourced through the online platform Wishberry. After Ansari completed Sisak, shooting guerrilla style in Mumbai’s local trains, he managed another coup: Sonam Kapoor decided to promote the film.

“She is a great role model and a staunch supporter of the LGBTQ community,” Ansari said. “Her social media clout will ensure that the film gets more eyeballs and trigger a dialogue.” He hopes that Sisak will be premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. “I have received feelers from the organisers and am keeping my fingers crossed,” he said.֙

Faraz Arif Ansari.
Faraz Arif Ansari.
We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.


It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.