Bluff, a short film by a group of youngsters, uses a card game to explore relationships

A single light bulb illuminates three figures seated around a table, playing cards in hand and serious expressions in place. The reddish glow that permeates the room adds to the ominous nature of the game being played.

“One ace,” says the nameless guy who starts proceedings, drawing wary glances from his two companions, one male and one female. “One more ace,” says the other gentleman, placing another card face down on top of the first. And so begins Bluff, a short film written and directed by Emil Thomas, which attempts to draw parallels between modern day relationships and the popular card game ‘bluff’, where no player can be trusted and lying is the only way to victory.

Emil searches for words as he explains the premise of the film, “The basic idea is that the lives these youngsters lead are similar to the titular card game and no one can be taken at their word. You’ll have to watch the movie to see how it all plays out,” he says. The film has been created as part of a portfolio for the young team behind it, which is mostly made up of students from Toc-H Institute of Science and Technology and Rajagiri Centre for Business Studies.

Action movie genre

The nearly 11-minute runtime of the short has some elements from the action movie genre, particularly the tense atmosphere shared by the brooding protagonists seated around the table. A smattering of outdoor shots show the twisted lives they lead that can be compared to the game and there is a dose of deadpan humour to complete the mishmash of movie genres that Bluff seems to dabble in.

Those who plan to rush to YouTube to give the film a look are in for disappointment for the time being, as the makers plan to rely on screenings only for the foreseeable future.

The short film will release officially on May 11 with a screening at Gold Souk Grande, Kochi, and the team is working on having it screened at other venues post that. Emil explains the reason behind the decision to avoid social media, “We want to receive a real critical response from our viewers. With social media sharing, what usually happens is that our friends will watch, like and give us positive feedback, but with a live screening at popular venues, we can hope to get a better idea about the merit of our work.”

Samarth A., Shyam Gopinath, Parvathy Nair and Aravind Pramod make up the cast of Bluff.

Arun Krishnan and Anand Rama Krishnan wielded Canon 550Ds to capture the movie and Anoop Nirichan has scored the music.

In true big budget movie style, the short has a beginning voiceover and animated ending credits, with some funny outtakes showing the lighter side of the cast and adding some humour. If you do intend to go watch Bluff, make sure you take along your best poker face.

Emil Thomas can be reached at 9496823140 or