Directed by: Shlok Sharma
Distributed by: TBA
Written by Maria Athayde
Directed by Shlok Sharma, “Two Sisters and a Husband,” who also co-wrote with Shilpa Srivastava, is a melodrama that explores an ethically non-monogamous relationship about a throuple on the run. It tells the story of Rajat (Dinker Sharma), a hotel manager, and sisters Tara (Avani Rai) and Amrita (Manya Grover) as they navigate increasingly complex emotions and fractured relationships, especially among Tara and Amrita who no longer see eye to eye with their arrangement. “Two Sisters” simmers slowly over time leading to a prolonged and precarious building of emotion and tension that culminates in an explosive ending.
This slow-burn characteristic worked both to the benefit and detriment of the movie. While our main timeline is set in the 90s we occasionally flashback to the past and get a glimpse into how the relationship between Rajat, Tara, and Amrita started. In the present, we know that Rajat and Tara are married. But when we flashback, to an earlier timeline, we see that Rajat is enamored with Amrita and we start to see their relationship blossom. The flashback scenes were extremely uncomfortable to watch because of a noticeable age difference between Rajat and Amrita who in many flashback scenes looked like she could be his daughter. This problem however does not occur in the 90s timeline and the relationship appears to be much more age-appropriate. Flashing back to our earlier timeline and unbeknownst to our protagonists Rajat, Tara, and Amrita’s parents arranged a marriage between Rajat and Tara who had never met each other before. Causing young Amrita to become angry, she confronts Rajat accusing him of wanting to marry her sister all along.
Now in the present, Amrita is pregnant with Rajat’s baby but becomes increasingly paranoid about the baby’s fate since she is unwed and does not get the emotional support she believes she deserves from Rajat while further alienating herself from her sister. While we get glimpses of how Tara is coping with this situation the ideas never seem fully formed. The movie is so worried about establishing the dynamic between Rajat and Amrita that more often than not Tara’s story is sidelined. For example, it would have been interesting more flashbacks that established the dynamic Tara and Amrita had when growing up. These details would add more gravity to the relationship we see among the sisters in the present day. The same could be said about the relationship between Rajat and Tara it seemed poorly constructed especially when we compared it to the sweeping story between Rajat and Amrita.
“Two Sisters and a Husband” does not have easy answers and is definitely different from the more colorful or action-filled Indian movies I have seen in the past. There is nothing too remarkable about this and it felt way too short and way too long at the same time. While it does explore an interesting theme its nonlinear structure ends up doing the movie more harm than good.
“Two Sisters and a Husband” was screened as part of the 2022 edition of the Tribeca Film Festival.
You can follow Maria Manuella Pache de Athayde on Letterboxd, Twitter, or Instagram and view more of what she’s up to here.