Chutney – Hindi Short film review & rating – 3.5/5

Chutney, a short film directed by Jyoti Kapur Das, is an exceptionally creepy piece of storytelling – both, by the filmmaker, and the actress within her film, a virtually unrecognizable Tisca Chopra. Chutney is one of those unsettling mood pieces where one can sense the “middle India,” the clandestine small town-ness within the big cities – the decay, infamy, and backbiting whispers within the walls of a restless Delhi locality.

And all this through just a strange, and seemingly harmless, the conversation between two fine performers, both of whom were seen together in Anup Singh’s Chopra (also the co-writer), who plays a timid housewife visibly growing in nature and stature as she circles her prey, Rasika Dugal, who plays her philandering husband’s (Adil Hussain) younger mistress.

The film opens with a regular Model Town garden party – not that I’ve ever been to any, but this just looks authentic – with the men being brash with meat and whisky in one corner, and the ‘ladies’ gossiping discreetly in another. A lot is established here with darting eyes and surreptitious glances: that, possibly, Chopra’s under-confident character isn’t as naïve as she lets on, and that this isn’t the first time she will invite one of her ‘competitors’ home for a friendly chat over pakoras.

Dugal’s wide-eyed curiosity makes you wonder if she, too, is simply indulging the older woman, or if she’s genuinely spooked: either by the “story” she is fed, the delicious chutney she consumes, or by the sheer lengths, a suppressed wife can resort to in order to hide her territoriality.

That Chutney makes you rewind a bit to further recognize your reading of its faces is perhaps its most appropriate victory. That Chutney makes you rewind a bit to further recognize your reading of its faces is perhaps its most appropriate victory. And even then, it feels bitter – and unsafe. In the right way, if that’s a thing.

Watch this short film on YouTube now if you still haven’t. 

This article credits goes to Anushka Dwivedi

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