Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Esha Deol’s short film Cakewalk makes big points in a short while. The film discusses the taboo surrounding divorce and working women, which is a relevant question to be posited in this day and age in the subcontinent.
Esha Deol stars as a young divorced chef who is going through money troubles and is trying to stay on top of everything at her job and her payments. Directed by Ram Kamal Mukherjee and Abhra Chakraborty, the film closely follows Esha’s character, Chef Shilpa Sen, who has left behind a turbulent marriage to pursue her passion.
The story takes place in a fancy hotel where Chef Shilpa Sen is a cooking contest winner. The film opens with her trying to juggle her money troubles and her arriving late to work. That day, she is asked to make a very fancy cake for a prominent guest who is coming into town. The story takes a turn when the guest finally does arrive and gets to taste Chef Shilpa’s cooking.
Esha’s performance is quite easily the strongest highlight of the film. She is convincing and doesn’t oversell the drama at any point. She manages to create the much needed impact to tell this story. What is unfortunate is that while it had a very strong theme and a strong enough actor to sell the story, Cakewalk could have benefited immensely from a more crisp direction and a stronger dialogue. The film lags at various points and for a short film it’s quite an overkill. The core conflict of the story, which is relatable to many women in the South Asian diaspora, manages to keep you interested.