By Subhash K. Jha
Film: "A Monsoon Date", a short film on Eros Now; Director: Tanuja Chandra; Rating: *** (3 stars)
There is a date and then are are the dates. As the unnamed girl in the pouring rain gets into the shared cab, she meets a couple whose daughter is to get married. The friendly lady thrusts date fruits in the troubled heroine's hands.
"Take take," she goes in broken English. A manufactured moment meant only to fill the space provided.
But Konkona Sen Sharma, her face showing every twitch of terror and apprehension that her character feels, has got another date on her mind. She must meet her boyfriend of one month (played by Priyanshu Painyuli, the talented actor who played the title role in "Bhavesh Joshi") and tell him the dark truth about herself.
It's a heart-rending situation which, if the truth be told, didn't really require any elaboration. Hence, even the short-story format seems to have been stretched out, with sundry characters popping up like unwanted performers at a big rock concert where Elton John is supposed to perform.
And really, the talkative cabbie (Chittaranjan Tripathy) is a cliche that such a path-breaking story could have avoided. He offers unwanted conversation. Just like the dates.
But then all we need to do is look at Konkona's face as it mirrors the dilemma and anguish of a gender-corrected woman who must tell her man the truth about herself. And all our misgivings are washed away in the pelting rain.
There are flashes of flashbacks where we see a young boy running around on a beach with lipstick on, and at one point, the screenplay (for reasons best known to itself) forces Konkona out of the cab into an auto in the pouring rain only so that she can come face-to-face with a transgender at a traffic light. At such moments, I felt the need for a little more tact, a little more sensitivity, and a lot more empathy for the man/woman's conflict.
Having said this, "A Monsoon Date" is still worth 20 minutes of our time for Konkona's empathetic performance and team's unconcealed concern for a gender that has crossed the line but doesn't know how to go ahead. Perhaps, that explains the tentative tenor of this tiny tale that seems far longer than it should.