Salim Merchant matches Tillotama Shome's talent in acting debut

I am always wary of musicians turning actors. But guess what? Salim Merchant does a decent job with his acting debut in "Fired", a short film released on Tuesday.

Salim Merchant
Salim Merchant

The title has a layered relevance in the plot. You see, Tillotama Shome (yes, that’s the calibre of co-star Merchant must match up in his acting debut) has just been fired from her job. She is understandably upset. She calls her chef boyfriend to share the news.

“Don’t drive. Just walk to the restaurant,” Merchant suggests gently, knowing fully well that an angry woman behind the wheels could be dangerous to mankind.

Tillotama, more glamorous and hip than any of her recent roles have allowed her to be (why is she always playing under-privileged women in suffocating situations?) arrives at the restaurant, and begins to break the chocolate cookies angrily in her plate.

Nice touch that. Merchant’s calm beau character Anand’s cooking skills allow him to be a monk with the kitchen knife. Be calm even when the client destroys your artwork specially if the client is your very upset girlfriend.

Upset, Nidhi certainly is. She curses and abuses in both Hindi and English. (This is where Pahlaj Nihalani does not step in). She wants justice, she wants revenge, she wants... Oh she just wants. Merchant then drops a bomb. He has quit his job. He wants his girl to help him build his dream café where the best coffee in the world would be served and there would be no menu.

"I even have a name for our café. Karma Café," sighs Anand.

That seems to calm her down. At least, temporarily.

"Fired" is a well-executed slice-of-life film. There are only two characters and a faceless waiter who barges into the couple’s conversation. But there are lots of people bustling all around the couple. Life, you see, has a way of going on even when you are making plans with your loved one that could make or break you.

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