In the latest drama from Indian director Rima Das (Village Rockstars), a loving father strains to keep his small-town business afloat while his relationships deteriorate amidst personal loss and lockdowns during the pandemic.
Amid economic strife caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jaan (Abhijit Das) desperately tries to keep his small business — a modest restaurant and hotel — afloat as his town in Assam emerges from mandated lockdown. With the chance of recovery looking bleak, Jaan begins to alienate himself from his friends and family, including his wife Tora (Tarali Kalita Das), whose patience is wearing thin.
Determined to do right by his employees and to provide for his family, Jaan turns to alcohol to cope with the pressure of his responsibilities. As he becomes increasingly stressed and aggressive, his personal relationships become more and more strained, and Tora must decide whether she can stand by her neglectful husband. Meanwhile, COVID refuses to let up and continues to threaten the lives of those around them.
Tora’s Husband is a perceptive drama that captures how tensions can erode lives and relationships during difficult times when everyone is struggling to survive. Shot over 15 months during the pandemic, Rima Das (whose previous features Village Rockstars and Bulbul Can Sing played the Festival in 2017 and 2018) imbues her film with the reality of the time and place of its making — and the lives therein.
With careful attention paid to the unique pressure faced by small-business owners, Das’s purview extends beyond the middle class, capturing the crisis with impressive scope and documentary-like attentiveness, pointing to the societal fragilities that preceded — and will follow — the effects of the pandemic itself. With remarkable authenticity, Das illuminates both the dignity and vulnerability of ordinary people in one of the defining films of our historical moment.