Produced and written by Tisca Chopra, short film Chutney, opens an episode into the life of a housewife who is leading an insecure married life with a charming businessman. Like all the people living in her society, she too is aware of her husband’s infidelity. But instead of calling quits or confronting her husband, this uneducated and seemingly naive woman takes a decision of inviting his love interest at her house for an earlier promised cookery class. And what happens next makes for a compelling watch..
The opening scene has a group of women badmouthing the ganwaar (unsophisticated) wife (Tisca Chopra) of a chivalrous businessman (Adil Hussain). At the centre of the group is this new neighbour, a newly married younger woman (Rasika Dugal) who is having a much-public affair with the businessman. On seeing the dowdy woman coming towards them, the lady changes the topic and starts making friendly overtures to her.
Few minutes later, the woman catches the sight of her husband flirting with the young girl at the bar. But bearing an unfazed face, she confidently approaches the woman and invites her to her house for an earlier promised cookery class.
Accepting her offer, the pretty faced neighbour comes to her home the next afternoon. First hesitantly, then indulgently she starts devouring the pakoras and the chutney served to her as the businessman’s wife starts narrating a story – of love, betrayal, and its creepy end.
Strong narrative, excellent direction and brilliant acting by Tisca, Adil and Rasika. Tisca has indeed gone an extra mile with this one. The actress has not only gone de-glam for the role, but also seems to have worked a great deal on her Ghaziabadi dialect. Her unpadicuored feet, which are shown in one of the scenes, shows her involvement in the project. The director, Jyoti Kapur Das, (who has been previously associated with films like Queen, Margarita With a Straw, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Kahaani etc.) has done justice to the story. The film’s strength lies in its subtleties.
The 16 minute-50 seconds-long film gives us an insight into the seemingly-uncomplicated lives of small town women, who have taught themselves ways of dealing with things -be it unsuccessful marriages, financial crunches or anything else. They don’t go around on streets seeking their rights like their feminist urban counterparts, nor do they indulge in acts that have a potential of maligning their family’s ‘image’. These women have silently slipped into the self-preservation mode. Though regressive, Chutney has undertones of feminism that come only as an after taste, quite much like the condiment the film’s name is based on.
Watch it here –