Rating : 8/10
Release Date : 19th July, 2013
Time : 139 minutes
Director, Writer : Anand Gandhi; Music : Naren Chandavarkar, Benedict Taylor
Starring : Aida El-Kasheef, Neeraj Kabi, Sohum Shah, Vinay Shukla, Sameer Khurana, Faraz Khan, Amba Sanyal
A movie that moves so slowly, languidly that you’ll swear you know snails who’re faster, turtles who seem rocket-fueled compared to this.
Visuals that make you rock back, admire their beauty, of the planet we inhabit and the meanings within
Stray thoughts, casually tossed up in conversations that go nowhere, which make you ponder about this, that and everything else.
For me, Ship of Theseus, while obviously making you think of the question it asks in its opening frame, manages to do more because it chooses a non-confrontational, subtle (not heavy-handed, preachy) approach. One, which is the precise opposite of what, say a Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra chooses to do. The beauty of this approach is that different people, based on their proclivities, their journeys so far, the stage of life they are at, can choose to draw completely different things from the film
The movie, for the record, is about three (unrelated?) stories.
Aida El-Kasheef, who took up photography post losing her eyesight, but thanks to technology and her boyfriend’s loving support (including verbally describing the visuals she has taken), is doing amazingly well.
Neeraj Kabi, a monk, fighting a court case against pharma companies to force them to treat the animals they use for R&D testing in a more humane manner. Determined to live life as per his conscience, his terms
And Sohum Shah, who can’t understand his grandmother’s disapproval of his desire to make money. He just wants to be respected, treated well for the good person he is.
There are several comments about the choices we make. Our obsession with money, with what we eat, the desire of media to make heroes out of people, the ruthlessness of big business, the ability of intelligent people to easily argue both sides of a debate while not taking a stand, the sense of humanity still retained by the poor.
The cinematography reveals the beauty within the inherent ugliness of our urban cities. Visuals of a slum-dweller giving shelter to ducks, other animals. A monk, swathed in white, crossing a bridge with huge sewage pipelines on either side while a river, who’s water has turned black, flows leisurely underneath. The light filtering through under a ugly flyover. The sun peeping through between Aida and her boyfriend while they argue, look over the city from a rooftop. Monks crossing a giant field filled with ugly, electricity-generating windmills. The rising sun making red walls glow deeper. The narrow alleyways of our slums, which cars or plump people find difficult to access. And the struggle of a centipede to cross over a busy path with oblivious people stepping all around it.
I feel the movie should be seen without any thought or search for deeper meaning. Let it wash over you and make of it what you will, but later. It has the potential to make you think, ponder over things around us. And for sure to make all of us reach for organ donation forms. Which is a great thing by itself…the ability to prolong life even in our death…to live longer, almost attain immortality by a simple act of kindness…