Nayantara’s Necklace could have been more hard-hitting
I was reasonably interested, if not terribly excited, to check out what was in the offering with Nayantara’s Necklace. It wasn’t as if I was intrigued with the title here. However, with Konkona Sen Sharma in there, I was sure that this won’t be an ordinary affair. With Tillotama Shome as the other lead, it was also pretty much on the cards that this 20 minute short film would be high on performance quotient. With decent expectations, I played on Nayantara’s Necklace which also marks the directorial debut of writer Jaydeep Sarkar who has worked on three films that are poles apart – Shaurya, Drona and Khoya Khoya Chand.
As the frames started to unfold, I did realize that it is indeed a tricky business to make a short film. It can neither be too long, nor be too short and still not just manage to keep your interest alive right through those 20 minutes but also have a definite something to tell. For starters, it cannot be frivolous. Secondly, with a much wider release than ever before, it also has to be entertaining if it has to cater to a larger audience.
Well, Nayantara’s Necklace falls somewhere in between when it comes to each of these parameters!
First and foremost, it appears to be a tad abstract at least for the first four-five minutes. You wonder if the narrative here is linear or is going back and forth. Yes, you do realize that Konkona belongs to an affluent family while Tillotama has a middle class upbringing. While former explains the nuances to wine to the latter while also discussing about the normal going-ons from their daily lives, you do wonder when would the actual plot kick-start.
However, Jaydeep keeps things running at his own pace. In fact by the middle of this all, you feel almost stoic as nothing really touches you or catches your attention. Tillotama decides to meet her crush from school, Konkona prepares her in terms of fine dining and dressing up, and then the date happens too. Just when it seems that the proceedings would get engaging here, there is a cut in the proceedings all over again.
Thankfully, the turn here is interesting and you do find yourself in the thick of action. Yet again though, there is a back and forth technique applied all over again, hence making one feel if a straight forward story telling would have helped here.
(Spoilers ahead) Nonetheless, coming back to the core drama in the offering, while you do begin to think about Konkana’s life and back-story at this point, what happens in the restaurant is rather surprising. While it is understandable that Tillotama wants to impress her crush (Gulshan Devaiah), one wonders why does she have to repeat everything that Konkana said to her. Yes, it is understandable that she is trying to live her friend’s life but it appears as if the point is being forced down your throat that everything that glitters isn’t really gold.
Now that’s the core message of the film as well, something that consumes last couple of minutes. However, one just feels that even as the idea thought behind the film was interesting enough, the medium and genre (drama) used was perhaps not as appropriate.
Of course the performances keep you engaged. Konkona, albeit a tad under-utilized, is natural all over again while Tillotama acts in a manner as it suits a film of this genre. Gulshan is subdued and underplays his part well. However, the kind of sensitive or hard hitting feel – as was perhaps the need of the hour – doesn’t really touch you as strongly as you would liked in a film like this.
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