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Thursday, 8 August 2013

Ship of Theseus

Add another director to the list of those from this part of the world who have the capability of attaining fame globally.  Anand Gandhi.  To get a flavor of what Gandhi has done in the past, check out these 2 links here. (part 1) (part 2)

This movie, in 2 parts to indicate that there is only 1 cut in the movie, is one of Gandhi’s earlier pieces of work titled Right Here Right Now.  Apparently he achieved instant success and the likes of DeNiro have congratulated him on the effort.  That being kept aside, the piece of work is fabulous.
In Right Here Right Now, Gandhi explores the connections that we have and make in our day to day lives and how both good as well as bad proliferate through these connections.  Ship of Theseus – for a layman like me – is also based on a similar premise of connections between 3 people who otherwise have nothing in common.
An Egyptian photographer who has lost her vision to a corneal infection but doesn’t let it stop her from shooting some stunning images.  An eye transplant gets her vision back but apparently throws her competence out of the window.  How does she cope?
A successful executive who has decided to given everything up to live a life as basic as possible.  So much that he walks all the way from North Bombay to South Bombay to attend hearings of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that he has filed for prevention of cruelty to animals by pharmaceutical companies.
And lastly, a workaholic stock broker who suspects that he has been given a lease of life with a kidney that has been procured illegally.  The otherwise money minded broker who is taking care of his grandmother decides to consider the points raised by her and chases up to find justice for a labourer who has lost his kidney to an organized global scam.
What connects these 3 people who have otherwise no clue of each others’ existence? SoT tries to uncover this link.  Based on the philosophy by Theseus that asks a simple question – if you were to replace all the parts of a ship with brand new parts albeit over time, does it continue to remain the same ship? In the same breath, if all those parts are put back together then which one is the original ship?
Food for thought? Trust someone like Gandhi to bring up this question through the wonderful world of a lens.  Shot with a portable camera (I would guess), Ship of Theseus is one of the finest pieces of work that I have seen from this part of the world in a long long time.
If there could be a grouse, it would be due to my inability to understand why there were certain shots that were not cut from the final version.  Also, there is a lot that the lesser educated people like me, may not understand.  In short, it is way too far from being a commercial movie.  And yet, it is running to packed houses for 3 weeks now.
I loved SoT.  To me, it is an expression of human kind in a manner that is most real.  It also forces you to think.  It does not spoon feed you and allows you to interpret some aspects the way you want to.  Is our audience mature enough to take this? I doubt.  But that doesn’t mean we stop making quality cinema right? 8 on 10.  Must watch.

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