The Relationship Manager is the latest offering by Falguni Thakore (written & directed) who has been a costume designer for various Neeraj Pandey films. Starring Annup Sonii as Vinay – a Relationship Manager for a bank, Divya Dutta as Kavita – Vinay’s client, Juuhi Babbar Soni as Riya – Vijay’s wife.
The story revolves around a Relationship Manager starting the 76th day of Lockdown with the usual morning chores. Vinay starts calling his clients and finds an unavoidable thing during one such call. He thinks one of his clients Kavita Arora (Divya Dutt) is suffering from domestic abuse.
He calls her back and pours his heart out, sharing a personal anecdote on domestic abuse. What does that call do to both of these characters, is what the film is all about.
Clocking at just 17 minutes and some seconds, The Relationship Manager packs in a hardcore emotional punch. It says a lot in such a short time and conveys a powerful message without getting too dark. Falguni Thakore smartly divides the film into two parts – ‘before the call’ and ‘after the call’.
Using the whole portion before the call, Falguni introduces us to the world of Vinay. The kind of husband he is, the kind of employee he is and finally the kind of person he is. She makes us comfortable at his home expects us to sit beside him while he makes his calls.
The whole mood of the films shifts once THE call starts. Oh! Before Kavita, Vinay also talks to one of his other clients played by Anupam Kher. A sweet little cameo in which Anupam Ji slams China apart from the other things. Vinay’s call with Kavita consists of all the meat.
It’s a short-film ‘alternate’ take on Taapsee Pannu’s Thappad. What if Taapsee Pannu’s Amrita would’ve continued to stay with Vikram with an extensively raged amount of domestic abuse? Divya Gupta’s Kavita is an answer to that.
The Relationship Manager is not just a neatly directed, engagingly helmed but also brilliantly performed short film. Because the characters are so minimalistically written, none of the actors goes over-the-board to achieve anything out-of-the-box.
The whole crux of the film is the call and both the actors are just sitting for most of the film. Because of this, there’s no chance to act through physical movements, and both Annup Sonii and Divya Dutta nail their expressions. Sticking to the intriguing dialogues, Annup and Divya make sure to keep us intrigued with their presence.
DOP Arvind Singh manages just to calm down the atmosphere with his still camera. Perfect pans and zooming help in building the tension around the story. Praveen Kathikuloth’s editing is the secret magical ingredient. Keeping things tight, there’s not a single unwanted second in the film that needed to be edited out. Sanjoy Chowdhury’s background score just elevates the watching experience. He masterly syncs in his melancholic violin’s tune with the hard-hitting scenes.
All said and done; The Relationship Manager will surely be an amazing of use your 17 minutes. It’s a sharp commentary on domestic abuse and suicide. A HARD-HITTING watch! It’s freely available to stream on YouTube. Shoutout to Large Short Films for backing up such content and making films like these possible.