In contemporary modern marital life when both the partners are toiling day and night to earn their livelihood and maintain a comfortable life, stress and moment of disharmony can affect the equilibrium of their married life. Through their quarrels and bitter arguments, we discover the angst and complexes these individuals have buried within them for such a long time. In the process, they reveal their darker sides which otherwise were wrapped under the curtain of compromise. If you are planning to watch the twenty-minute long short film Friction currently streaming on Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films’ YouTube Channel, with such expectations then you are going to be disappointed.
The film begins with Rahul (Sanjay Kapoor) watching a cricket match while relishing his glass of whiskey. He is dressed in formal attire and the reason is that he works from his home. As he starts getting engrossed in the match his phone rings and the name of his wife Roskija (Shweta Kawaatra) flashes on the screen of his iPhone. After repeated buzzing, he receives the call and we are informed that something has happened on Juhu 10th road and he must immediately reach the spot. As Rahul drives his vehicle immediately to reach the destination, through a series of flashbacks we are informed that he was having strains in his relationship with Roskija. Both of them try their best to keep their son Rishi (Purab Mody) away from their animosity. In one of the scenes, Rahul desires to have sex with Roskija, but she is engrossed in her office work and prefers to get intimate when her ‘biological clock suggests’. The scene ends up with Rahul taking a shower to pacify his hormonal outburst. The next morning, another scene of quarrelling happens where a piece of important information is revealed to the viewers that form the crux of the narrative.
The cinematography, editing and sound design of the film are well executed but nothing exceptional. But where the film suffers the most is the languorous screenplay and trite dialogues. In an age of the meteoric rise of the OTT platform, the language of cinema has evolved beyond our imagination. Filmmakers have been constantly trying to push the envelope of cinema with all their creative strengths. In recent times short films have also developed their style to go hand in hand with this evolution in the form of storytelling. But with clichéd efforts like Friction, proves how few filmmakers are not yet prepared to utilize their grey cells and are still stuck with the parochial form of storytelling.
Performance-wise we cannot blame the two leading actors, Sanjay Kapoor and Shweta Kawaatra, for their unappealing efforts when the script itself is not up to the mark. The final twist in the ending of the film shows some sort of intelligence in eliciting the tension in the story. But that friction caused by lazy storytelling has already exhausted our expectations. We had expected something better.