Mom vs. Machine at Fantasia Festival 2022

Mom vs. Machine
Canada / English
2021 / 14 Minutes
Director: Tesh Guttikonda
Cast: Nimet Kanjim, Praneet Akilla

Boom baby! Biryani!

The glory of short film making, is the freedom the artists involved have. There are no major studios and suit and tie types sitting around large corporate tables, holding meetings about how to maximize profit to the detriment of the artform and the vision of the director. None of that applies here. This is film making and it’s root, its rawest form. True and as close to the directors artistic version that they’ll maybe ever experience in their careers.

Films such as Mom vs. Machine are free to explore, and that surely is what director Tesh Guttikonda has done here. Mom vs. Machine is a warm look at modern society and at family and culture. Changing of times but with the continuing legacy of traditions as well and preservations of the past, as well. And robots. Not quite dystopian but walking the fine line between fear of the future and that of lost identity. Mom vs. Machine is a funny good time, with an implausible scenario that hints towards a bleak future that begins with self-checkout registers at the grocery store.

See Also: Face/Off at Fantasia Festival 2022

When Kamal’s adult son introduces a 3D food-printing appliance into their home, it shatters her maternal identity and forces her to go on a journey to heal old wounds, rediscover herself, and literally battle the machine. At the center of the story, is a biryani recipe that has been passed down through the generations, only to find its way into a machine that quite literally prints food. This irks the matriarch in the story, and causes her to take action – but the machine isn’t about to go down without a fight.

The acting fits the project wonderfully, as Nimet Kanjim and Praneet Akilla play off of each other in perfect symbiosis. The ability to create such strong characters and give them enough life to make them believable in such a short run-time is impressive – and something many Hollywood films fail at in a feature length film (here’s looking at you, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets).

If a film is to be judged, then it sure be done so by an audience, like the one that viewed this great short film at Fantasia festival. And the reaction that this film received was nothing but positive. Big laughs at the right moments, for the proper reasons, and a healthy round of applause was the screening had concluded. Surely, the future is bright for Guttikonda.