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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Destiny, Review: Your vengeance, my luck

Destiny, Review: Your vengeance, my luck

You might think that a film about vengeance would be bloody and gruesome. Destiny, about a jilted girl’s vengeance against her imagined prospective husband, has only a few drops of blood, and they come from the lover’s bleeding forehead, not caused by anything thrown at him but a result of tripping at a pizzeria’s entrance. It is more of a romantic comedy than a revenge story. Destiny is a cute, neat film that has a twist at the end, with easy-flowing dialogue, smart-casual performances and technical competence.

Tanya has been dating Derek and confides about this fact to her best friend when she is about to go on her third date. They met through a matrimonial site and Tanya hopes to get married to him. Her friend is not so sure but very curious about the matter. Just then, there is a call from Derek, and he says he cannot make it to the date. He goes on to say that she is beautiful, smart and intelligent, but that he cannot picture her as a wife. Tanya tries to buy time, but Derek disconnects. Moreover, he blocks her on facebook and WhatsApp. This hurts Tanya. Her friend asks her to forget it, and blame it on luck. But Tanya is determined to teach him a fact many lessons. It will now be Tanya’s vengeance against Derek’s luck.

Written, directed, edited and produced by Vikkramm Chandirramani, Destiny is his second venture, after Screwdriver, a satire on various bans in India. Vikkramm started an internet company, spent a couple of years learning the ropes of film-making, including directing and editing, by reading books, and watching videos and films. Alongside, he got formally trained as an actor at Roshan Taneja Acting School.

Destiny is a step above from Screwdriver (2016), showing that he is climbing up the learning curve. A tight script is essential in any kind of cinema, perhaps more so when you have only 13 min. 43 sec. to play with. That box is ticked. A couple of good touches would add great value to the screenplay, and the Russian id plus the forehead injury provide just that. And then a climactic volte face in the tale, which almost slips in unnoticed. His ability to handle actors is evident all through, and is all the more commendable, since three of his four performers are young women. The only place where he could have executed more convincingly is when Tanya puts on the Russian voice act. His match-cut on “I do” at the end is a tour de force.

Nikita Vijayvargia and Monika Panwar are readily acceptable as the two friends, typical early-twenties girls, lolling about in shorts and casuals. Their camaraderie is well delineated, with Nikita being both vulnerable and adventurous, as contrasted with her cautious and curious friend. Jagriti Singh has just one scene and is easy on the eye. Bhupendra Singh Jadawat is cast as the quintessential undecided lover, who is afraid of making a commitment. His diction must be appreciated. Kartik Katkar imparts some likable frames and colour grades as cinematographer and colour grader. Catch him in a fleeting cameo at the end. Sound design and recording by Shantanu Trivedi gives us very natural sounds.

Treated as a slice of life, Destiny is fresh and watchable. Realising the need for brevity, it shapes up around just two plot points, and should help take Chandirramani’s destiny as a film-maker to the next level.

Rating: *** ½

P.S.: Don’t miss the title of the novel Jagriti Singh is shown reading. It is Gul Sundri, a compilation of short stories authored by Vikkramm’s late father, Mohan Deep, who passed away not too long ago, shortly after sending me a review copy by courier. A journalist-playwright-author-feng shui consultant, Mohan would have been proud of his son’s achievement.


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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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