Rating: 4/5 stars (Four Stars)
Star Cast: Aida El-Kashef, Sohum Shah, Neeraj Kabi, Vinay Shukla, Faraaz Khan, Amba Sanyal
Director: Anand Gandhi
What’s Good: An evocative film with myriad dichotomies that is wrapped and served to you with the charisma of Mumbai.
What’s Bad: Perhaps the pace could to be deterring to many.
Loo break: None
Watch or Not?: Anand Gandhi’s Ship Of Theseus is a bold and challenging film, which presents to you an indulgent story with engaging characters using the art of symbolism. Spread out on the grand vision of experimental cinema, this is a film that will grow on you. Watch it if you have the appetite for Indie cinema. This is perhaps one of recent times’ most eloquent films that have come out of India!
A blind photographer has to undergo cornea treatment and her new found sight affects her identity in ways unimaginable as she feels the edginess of her art diminishing.
An animal rights activist and monk is fighting against animal testing and when he is diagnosed with liver cirrhosis, he has to justify the reason for refusing medication that uses animals as testing means!
The third story is that of a stockbroker who gets entrapped oddly in a case of organ tourism and then delves into the intricacies of this trade further. The three stories intersect to pluck at the emotional, philosophical and spiritual strings of a thinking mind.
Ship Of Theseus Review: Script Analysis
Gandhi who belongs to the theatre world framed the story of this film on an ambitious tapestry. Making a direct reference to the paradox of Greek philosopher Plutarch, where he questions that if an object has changed all its integral parts, does it still remain the same object! The theory is an old idea that has prevailed in philosophical discussions from the times of Socrates to John Locke!
Gandhi bases his film on identity crisis primarily, and seeks to understand what defines the self. Organ transplant serves a mere symbol that poses questions of how life juxtaposes beliefs with our realities in the most intriguing ways. The existential muse is answered by Gandhi delicately as he shifts his attention more on the contrasts between the body that replenishes and the qualities that prevail.
Infusing an understated hue of drama in his fascinating script, each of his characters are intelligently etched out brimming with warmth, as they absorb you into their world effectively. The story is beyond the convictions that it underlines and leaves a lingering impact which provokes a deep spiritual afterthought! The individual stories of Aaliya, Maitreya and Navin will make you steadfastly ruminate on the larger thematic question of human life and how little regard we have for compassion! Inferring constantly from the ideas of existentialism, the film is comprised of feelings through its characters of flesh and blood who channelize such complicated ideas so truly and simply that it will leave you mesmerized. The scene where Aaliya fights with her boyfriend to the chemistry between Charvaka and Maitreya and their banter to the despair when Navin realizes the futility of his fight are all moments that will leave you overshadowed by the film’s flavor.
Ship Of Theseus Review: Star Performances
Aida El Kashef is vivid is her role. Her mirth is inescapable as she positively adapts to her disability with utmost vibrancy. She is mesmeric in her work and in every frame she drips passion and joy. Her glee is intoxicating and that’s what stays the most about her role.
Sohum Shah is an obviously great performer who brings across his helplessness on screen with a magical bafflement. He is beyond adequate in his well enacted role.
But perhaps the actor who commanded most respect was unfailingly Neeraj Kabi. As a man torn between his reality and his beliefs, he renders to his role an overtone of emotional conviction. His struggle is what will remain with you the most even as other characters might begin to wither away a little later! His eventual resignation filled me with both a sense of loss and relief.
Ship Of Theseus Review: Direction, Music and Screenplay
Anand Gandhi brings up to us a very fascinating idea that intricately sews different stories with a common philosophical thread. Harping on the debatable concept of the Ship of Theseus, the film flaunts its intellectualism with élan. Of all the stories, it is the conscientious Maitreya whose sensibilities penetrate the deepest in our minds. The story has its fair share of humor and wit but despite its drooping pace, the film never loses on its lucidity. The film’s ambience is humane and the anguish of the characters extremely relatable that you can almost empathize with their complexes and dilemmas. Gandhi’s theatrical background is evident from the impromptu intellectual humor and aroma that doesn’t fall flaccid at any point and is executed with inexplicable ease. Cinematographer Pankaj Kumar deserves applause for creating the right notes in the film and the dialogues are so well scripted that the film oozes sheer profound beauty. The film’s crux can be equated to the idea that has often been borrowed from classic Japanese film, Rashomon that defines the idea that truth isn’t singular. Similarly Ship Of Theseus poses to us a similar idea, justice and morality both thrive on multiplicity of ideas and its circumstantial framework.
Ship Of Theseus Review: The Last Word
Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus is indeed a cinematic gem which is uncanny in its vision, the film accomplishes to astonish for the mere power of its engrossing idea. Teamed with great performances and Gandhi’s proficient direction, the film dauntingly revels in its dualities. I am going with a 4/5 for this one. A must watch film which will force you to introspect and leave you awe struck.
Ship Of Theseus Trailer
Ship Of Theseus released on 19th July, 2013.
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