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Mediocre Lockdown Film Uplifted By Divya Dutta’s Performance




The lockdown has inspired  at least two  short films  based on the growing incidents of  domestic  violence. The first is  Nandita Das’s Listen To Her in June  which  dealt far more sensitively  with the theme  of domestic  violence, using  human resources available to Nandita at home, namely her son to play a role,etc.

Using the same  ploy  the new short film The  Relationship Manager falls way short of anyone’s expectations. It ruins  its  central  thematic  thrust of  a battered  wife (Divya Dutta) connecting with her chatty affable  “relationship manager”(Anup Soni)  by trying to cram  in   a number of  unwanted warm-up distractions –guest  appearances  by Anupam Kher and  Sana Khan—before getting  to the point.

 The main crux  works for Divya Dutta’s  pain-lashed  voice. With that  subtle tremble  in her voice  and eyes that  convey unspeakable  pain, Divya really didn’t need that bruise  on  her forehead  to endorse her abuse.

By the way,   where  is  the abusive husband while  she has  this long  life-changing conversation   with Mr Congeniality? Probably out  buying sanitizers to clean the blood off his hands.

The  Relationship Manager   makes us neither angry nor sad  for  all the women who are currently  victims of domestic abuse at home.  Nandita Das did  that to us even without showing the  victim’s face. Bruise and  all.

As an attempt to  put together a  film in quarantine,  The  Relationship  Manager scarcely generates interest.  This could have  been  a much more effective film. Rating: **

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