'Little Baby' revolves around a father-daughter relationship.
Priyanshu Chatterjee plays Dushyant, a police officer who’s grown apart from his daughter Sasha (Gulnaz Siganporia).
The set-up is generic and the film overloud, but Chatterjee blesses his role with a seasoned stillness. Even when he’s thrashing a suspect, he appears more saddened than angry.
Dushyant is less fatherly at home. His daughter, Shasha, has a danger sign hung up on her door, and appears to hold her father accountable for a past tragedy. Siganporia is a newcomer whose Instagram handle describes her as ‘a dancer trapped in an actor’s body’.
We agree. After a peppy club number, Shasha and her friends are rounded up from a hotel. She ends up breaking her father’s heart, who heads over the same station she’s brought in to. Eventually, Dushyant relents.
He admits to his drinking problem and takes great pains to reconcile with Shasha. He sits her down and confesses his fraught mental state.
“I think I need a psychiatrist,” he says, to which the impulsive refusenik has the perfect response: “Are you out of your mind?” Nevertheless, both head out for some well-advised counselling and the film totters between a jaded generational gap story and a weirdly unsettling psychodrama.
Oh yes, there’s a mother in the story as well (played by Shivani Mahajan), a character so tangentially positioned it borders on satire. But then again, this might be the only point director Shekhar S Jha wants to make: the corrupting selfishness that blinds us to our loved ones.
Little Baby is messy and messily made, but it leaves a taste. In one scene, the family drives out to a restaurant. The waiter condescendingly suggests a mocktail for Shasha, making Dushyant cut in. “She’s an adult,” he chides, “Fix her a proper drink.” In that moment, he’s an adult too.