Road To Forest, a short film by Sapnesh Varachal, explores the impact of violent video games on children’s behaviour

Increasingly, children are getting addicted to video games, most of them of a violent nature, which, it is said, triggers hostile thoughts and aggressive behaviour in them. Director Sapnesh Varachal’s new short film Road To Forest, explores this “worrying trend” through the tale of a teenager, Gautham. The première of the 20-minute film is on November 10, 9 a.m. at Nila Theatre.

“Lately, the media is flooded with stories of adolescents exhibiting all sorts of violent behaviour – even sexual violence. This film is about such a boy, who is very much into violent gaming, so much so that he even knows what sort of weapons to use in various situations. What drives him – and others like him – to indulge in violent acts? ” asks Sapnesh.

An employee of C-DIT, he is the director the Chief Minister’s Sutharya Keralam on Doordarshan and has also directed ‘Nalla Naadu Nalla Vellam’, an ad on rainwater conservation, featuring director Lal Jose, for the Department of Water Resources, Government of Kerala.

The narrative of Road To Forest unfolds on a journey to Bangalore that Gautham and his parents take after he is kicked out of school for stabbing a classmate.

“His father, a successful businessman, and his mother, an IT professional, are at their wits end, not realising that their neglect of him while focussing too much on their careers might also have contributed to their son turning out like this. They decide that he would be better off away from home. On the way to Bangalore, Gautham makes use of a pit-stop to run away into a forest. This completely new environment is a wonder for him and he begins to think of his sojourn in the forest as an alternative reality. Being alone in the forest brings out his murderous instincts, which has, of course, been honed by his experience surviving violent video games,” says Sapnesh, who has also written the script.

A highlight of the film is the graphics, by Karthik, which comes into play when Gautham is moving through his alternative reality. Prasanth Krishna is the cinematographer.