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.