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Lunch With My Friend’s Wife, Review: Not with his friend’s wife

That is a dilemma and a conundrum. Firstly, the lunch takes just a few seconds of the 15 minute 13 second film. Secondly, it is not with the central character’s friend’s wife, as the title suggests. That means taking huge liberties with the narrative genre. Lunch With My Friends Wife plots two intertwined story lines, one being the apparently straight narrative, while the other a blend of flashback and the sub-conscious. Not an easy course to chart, but luckily for the film, it works, largely.

In such a short film, which is a true story, with a major twist towards the end, any revelation of the story would be not in the interest of the film. Suffice to say that the film begins with a man driving a car and humming, ‘Hum haen raahee pyaar key’ when he gets a phone call informing him that the friend with whom he was to have lunch has had to cancel the appointment, as he has had to attend to some urgent business matter at the far end of town. You take it from there.

Prabhakar ‘Meena Bhaskar’ Pant, the writer-director, whose work I have reviewed earlier, is one man, and the declaration bears repetition, on account of his four-part nomenclature. In a sense, he has it easy, taking facts and staging them before cameras. What he must be complimented on is the flow and the fluidity of the film, a credit he must share with editor Pushkar Bhaskar. Also, the build-up is well executed, and it leads to the climax at just the right time. At 15.13, the film is of a right length.

Only two actors are used: Sanjiv K. Jotangia and Anushka Singh. Both do a fine job and even the awkward scenes (the film is 100% adult material) come across convincingly. Competent camera-work comes from Mahesh Rajan. Due credit to executive producer and creative director, Shankar Ramakrishnan Iyer. Special mention must be made of Kshitij Tarey’s original background score, though I discerned influences of the old German band Kraftwerk. Sound design and mixing by Girish Talpade keeps the track alive.

Lunch With My Friend’s Wife is not too different from Prabhakar ‘Meena Bhaskar’ Pant’s earlier venture, My Client’s Wife, in terms of subject matter. In fact, there is only a slight improvement and growth in treatment. But he would be advised to move on. Maybe Alfred Hitchcock or Stephen King have influenced him, but even their stories differ significantly from each other, especially Hitchcock.

Rating: ***

Trailer: The producers have not made a trailer of this short film.