Review by Mark Schwab
April 18th, 2018
With more and more people making romantic connections around phone apps, I guess it follows that more and more indie filmmakers will reflect that truth in their movies. I'm not sure this is a good thing as it doesn't leave much in the way of visuals or emotions when all you can focus on is a tiny screen with emojis and the occasional text bubble graphic placed next to someone's face as they "chat".
Nevertheless writer/director Vikkramm Chandirramani, shooting on location and in the language of his native India, attempts it anyway with his 14-minute short film DESTINY.
We meet Tanya and Richa - a couple of besties sharing an apartment and on the hunt for husbands. Tanya is in high spirits as she seems to be closing in on a "Mr. Perfect" named Derek. Although they have only been out "a few times", Tanya is thinking wedding bells and gushes to Richa about how handsome and sensitive Derek is and how well he treats her when they've been out.
In short order though, Derek calls Tanya and calmly ends it, not seeing her as marriage material. Naturally, Tanya is totally confused and can't understand the sudden change. She and Richa search for answers...could he be gay? Is there another girl? Nothing seems to fit so they decide to concoct a revenge plot by setting up fake profiles on the same phone app, setting up fake "dates" with Derek and then not showing up for them.
DESTINY really struggles in the storytelling department as the screenplay feels like 10 pages plucked at random from the middle of a feature film. There's just not enough context around the characters or the situation to get us involved and we find ourselves jarringly thrust into the story. Plus the main character of Tanya is written into a corner as a one-note, manipulative shrew. She and Richa move through their obvious revenge plan with way too much glee, making them instantly unlikable. I can forgive unlikable characters if they are funny but in DESTINY they just come off as annoying and desperate - it isn't a pretty picture of today's young women.
It's too bad that writer/director Chandirramani settled on this being such a simple example of attractive young women scorned and immaturely striking back with the same technology they themselves rely on for human connection. The two attractive leads show solid timing and I'd like to see them work with stronger material. Although paced to move quickly and lensed well by Kartik Katkar, DESTINY never really gets off the ground as a comedy or a social cautionary tale.