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Cakewalk review : Esha Deol Takhtani’s mature performance is the highlight in her debut short film

Cakewalk review: Esha Deol Takhtani gives an outstanding performance in Ramkamal Mukherjee’s debut short film!

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Cakewalk short film review Esha Deol Takhtani shines in it

Cakewalk is produced by Dinesh Gupta, Shailendra Kumar and Aritra Das, under the Assorted Motion Pictures and SS1 Entertainments banner, their first Hindi short film. But that’s not it! The short film has a series of firsts to boast. It is Esha Deol Takhtani’s first film post marriage and maternity. In fact, it is also her first short film ever. It is journalist-turned-director Ramkamal Mukherjee’s first film ever as a director (co director- Abhra Chakraborty), albeit a short film. It is the first short film that has partnered with Rishtey Cineplex for release on the channel. It is even the first short film with music that got picked up by Zee Music (The title track ‘Life is not a Cakewalk’ is a beautiful track composed by Shailendra Sayanti and rendered by Rupali Jagga).

It’s the first time a short film has seen such aggressive promotional activity before the release, or such a grand release. It’s the first time a short film had a star-studded premiere in a theatre like Inox Insignia, Worli (at The Atria Mall). The film will also be available for viewing on Voot.

What it’s about? Shilpa Sen (Esha Deol Takhtani) is a bakery chef at a five-star Hotel in Kolkata. She’s bogged down by credit card arrears that the company keeps harassing her with phone calls for. A runner-up on the Master Chef show, she is admired and envied by her colleagues. Wondering how to get rid of her debts, the solution comes through when the chief Chef  announces a cash incentive of Rs 2 lakhs for the best Baked Alaska. This was for Arnab and Karishma Chaudhury, who would be celebrating their first wedding anniversary at the hotel. Arnab was a big-shot corporate guest there, and the Baked Alaska has to please their esteemed guests.

Needless to say, Shilpa Sen’s Baked Alaska wows the corporate big-shot and his pampered adored wife. But there’s an intrigue in the presentation. And that is the short and sweet summation of this film. Shilpa is an independent working woman whose choice has come at a price – a compromise that may not necessarily have been fair.

Yay: A mature performance by Esha Deol as Shilpa Sen gives the role just the right amount of strength when required and vulnerability when called for. The feisty bindaas girl of Hindi movies has given way to a feisty responsible woman. The other actors, Tarun Malhotra and Anindita Bose lent a suitable romantic and sensual foil to Esha’s single and seemingly sterilised existence. Esha looks simply stunning. She’s been styled beautifully. And she performs in an unhurried pace, that is visibly at odds with the speed of her character’s conflicting emotions.

Journalist/author-turned-director Ramkamal Mukherjee dreams big. He has shot this little 27- minute film like a feature film. It feels even shorter than the actual time. It’s like a vignette from life. The music plays out like it would in a feature film too. Eventually, it is an unapologetic narrative of women empowerment and a non-judgmental take on someone who wants to be her own woman on her terms. And has the guts to take that step in a society that constantly harps on her role as wife more than as a woman. For a first film, there is nothing tentative about this film. Ramkamal is very sure of what he wants to say and show and how he wants to.

Nay: The film leaves you wishing to know more about what happens to the characters after the baked Alaska. And you wish the story would play out just that much longer.

Cine Blitz Verdict: 3.5 stars

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