Pocket Films unveils Assamese director Rohan Kumar Das's new short film, adapted from Jeffrey Archer's 'Checkmate'

Stuti Choudhury in Rohan Kumar Das' 'Chequemate'
Rohan Kumar Das, a film-director from Guwahati, Assam, has recently released his newest short film 'Chequemate' through Pocket Films, a short films distribution network. The story of Chequemate has been adapted from Jeffrey Archer's 'Checkmate' from his 1988 short-story collection 'A Twist in the Tale'.

Stuti Choudhury, Pratyush Chandan Barua, Debasis Kalita and Vikramaditya Banerjee acted in the film. The film is edited by Maaruf Bin Rafique and cinematography by Debasis Kalita. Music director Bhargav Talukdar scored the background music.

Produced by Rohan and Ankur C Das, the film has managed to capture the attention of viewers while the artists have managed to portray their characters in a sophisticated manner. The film was released on Oct 24, 2019 worldwide under Pocket Films' YouTube channel. Before this, Rohan had directed and produced two other short films 'Objects in the Mirror' and 'Whole in One' as a part of his tribute trilogy.

"While there may not be a feature film in every one of us, there is so often a damned good short film" - Rohan Kumar Das.

Original story of 'Checkmate' by Jeffrey Archer

(Checkmate is the 6th story from British author and politician Jeffrey Archer's short story collection A Twist in the Tale first published in 1988. The collection contains 12 stories overall.)

The story begins by introducing an alluring woman, whose entrance into the room is marked by every one of its occupants. The narrator goes on to describe the event as a chess tournament, where the lady is a new participant, and he himself was the Chess Club's new captain.

The tournament follows round-robin pairing, as the narrator finds himself facing a thin man, wearing a three-piece suit and half-moon spectacles, an accountant working in Woking. The beautiful stranger finds herself pitted against an elderly gentleman, who was once the club captain, but was now well past his prime. The narrator follows her every move, albeit inconspicuously. In the second round, she plays the accountant whom the narrator had defeated before the break. After a few rounds, they are acquainted over drinks, and the woman introduces herself as Amanda Curzon.

The narrator offers to drive her home, but soon invites her over to his place for a drink. One thing leads to another, as he pulls out an ornate chess set, and challenges her to a game, on the pretext that they were not able to play against each other at the tournament. He then proposes a wager- if she won, he would hand her ten pounds, but if he won, she would take off a piece of clothing, or an accessory.

As the game ensues, the narrator stalls for twenty minutes out of courtesy, and then brings it to a decisive checkmate. Amanda kicks off her shoes. Although she wishes to leave, he calls for a "double or quits"; twenty pounds to another garment. She accepts, and another half-hour later, her stockings are off.

The stakes are raised yet again, and within minutes, her black suspender belt joins her stockings and shoes. More fired up than ever, the narrator sets the board yet again. She puts up an impressive resistance this time, and it seems that she has got the better of him, until he plays a move similar to Karpov's Sicilian Defence, and wins yet again. She allows him to unzip the back of her dress, and lets it fall to the floor.

As the narrator returns from the kitchen with a new drink, he sees her there, dressed in nothing but a pair of panties and a gauzy black bra. In a final gamble, seething with excitement, he suggests they play for two hundred pounds, or both garments. The game lasts mere minutes; she annihilates him, and smiles enigmatically. Checkmate.

Before he can even process what has happened, all her clothes are back on. She smiles as he signs over two hundred pounds in her name, and leaves, shutting the front door behind her. Wondering how she would return home, the narrator races out, only to see her enter a BMW. She is joined by his first opponent, the accountant. Having succeeded in an elaborately planned conspiracy, the two smug faces drive off into the night.