Tanya is all smiles due to her blossoming online relationship with new boyfriend Derek. However, when Derek phones to end the relationship, Tanya doesn’t take kindly to his decision and hatches a plot to make his life miserable.
I’m old enough to remember the 1980’s and particularly a time during that decade when video dating was all the rage. I was far too young to use them of course, but due to rom-coms of the time, I was very much aware of them. Dating services, particularly in the US, were a ‘thing’ back then and they would get their members to record video intros in order to sell themselves to potential mates. Then other members would pop into the offices, be matched up with potential suitors by staff and given a handful of VHS tapes to view and decide who they wanted to get to know better.
How things have changed though, nowadays meeting someone is as easy as swiping left or right and long gone are the days when someone being on a dating site was considered sad and lonely. I don’t think there is anyone today who would raise an eyebrow if they found out a couple had met online. It’s accepted and very much a regular occurrence.
Indian writer/director Vikkramm Chandirramani takes his own swipe at new age dating with his bittersweet comedy ‘Destiny’ – a 14-minute short film that has some good moments but unfortunately contains some not so good ones too.
Filmed in Hindi with subtitles and on location in India, ‘Destiny’ opens in a small flat – the home of Tanya and her flatmate best friend Richa. Tanya (Nikita Vijayvargia) is in a good place when we meet her; she has been dating a guy she met on an online dating app called Derek, who is everything she wants in a man, handsome, attentive, caring and although they have only met a few times, she is already smitten and sees their future together. Her opening exchanges are with Richa (Monika Panwar) as she reminisces about her last meeting with Derek in which he remembered the exact earrings she was wearing because they were so pretty are very sweet.
There is an easy going chemistry between the two actors that shines through the screen. It is easy to believe that these two characters are best friends who would share everything with each other. Panwar, in particular, is great in these scenes as she teases and probes her friend for the juicy details on Derek and what they got up to on their date.
Things take a slightly darker tone when Derek (Bhupendra Jadawat) calls Tanya in order to break up with her. He just doesn’t see her as marriage material and tries to tell her as gently and calmly as he can. However, this isn’t good enough for Tanya who, hurt by his rejection, concocts a plan to make his online dating life miserable. She creates new profiles on the dating app with different girls names and pictures and leads poor Derek on with text messages, enticing him into catfish type situations. He thinks he’s going on dates with all these girls only to be stood up time and time again. Jadawat as Derek is good in this role, he is such a nice guy that we immediately feel sorry for him and dislike Vijayvargia’s Tanya. She is very manipulative and not a nice person and all her scheme does is help prove Derek’s initial feelings about her were right.
Chandirramani’s script is very simple but it is effective. His plotting is fine and the conclusion is certainly pleasing. The problem is that ‘Destiny’ is billed as a romantic comedy and it’s just not really that funny. There is a set piece and a humorous line or two but overall nothing really hits its mark. The cinematography is decent and Tanya and Richa’s flat is nicely coloured but other than a likeable cast and a neat twist, Destiny remains a pretty standard story. What would have been more interesting and potentially funnier is if Tanya had sent her friend Richa on a date with Derek with a game plan to humiliate him publicly?
Still, Destiny was a decent effort with performances by some able and likeable actors.