Holding their imaginary glasses of wine aloft and gently twirling them, Nayantara (played by Konkona Sen Sharma) and Alka (played by Tillotama Shome) are lost in their fantasy of a dream date. This is a rare moment of camaraderie where they do not slip into the emptiness of their respective lives. This is also why Jaideep Sarkar’s Nayantara’s Necklace, a 20-minute long short film launched on Youtube, is worth a watch.
Borrowing a thread from Guy de Maupassant’s short story The Necklace, Sarkar touches upon the ‘unsaid’ when he presents the story of his protagonists. So when a seemingly rich Nayantara recalls the scent of the five-star hotel she once stayed in, Alka experiences a stab of envy and loss at her friend’s exotic lifestyle. On the other hand, Tara bursts into a stream of dark thought as she boasts about her glorious adventures to her friend. As the narrative progresses, Alka like Mathilde in The Necklace, gets her chance to be ‘rich’ and ‘elite’ for a day. And that is where the similarities of the narrative end.
Playing the role of a rich and well-groomed next-door neighbour, Konkona Sen Sharma is arresting. But, it is Tillotama Shome who is a sight to behold. Right from the hapless existence of a middle-class wife who seeks the attention of a husband to her silent fascination for Nayantara’s fashionable name and lifestyle, Shome portrays Alka’s nuances effortlessly. As a filmmaker, Sarkar also shows immense promise. Focusing on the back-and-forth dialogue between the two women, Sarkar keeps the movie interesting for the viewer. He also pulls off a ‘Sujoy Ghosh’ with the twist at the end except that unlike Ahalya, Sarkar uses the dark and deep tone of melancholy.
At a time when big budget films are proving to be epic failures in their screenplay, performances and technique, the interest that filmmakers are generating in the medium of short films is commendable.
For example, when Sujoy Ghosh made Ahalya, it seemed that the short duration of a film was never a hindrance to story telling. And with Sarkar’s recent, we have at hand, performances from the finest.