Ship of Theseus | 2013

Genre: Drama

Author : Srivathsa

Synopsis: A breakthrough for Indian Indie Cinema. A soulful meditation. Mildly Flawed.

Lately, Indian Independent Cinema has been seeing quite a few advances from its self denial state. And these improvements have been totting up to reassure the impoverished film industries across the subcontinent. Anand Gandhi’s “Ship of Theseus”, while watching the trailer seemed like one of those movies that would have immense value added to it, while the movie proves much beyond that line. It is a film that Indian Cinema had been waiting for. While, it is an triumph of sorts, “Ship of Theseus” had the capability of being a perfect film, which it is not.

“Ship of Theseus” directed by Anand Gandhi, has three episodes judiciously interconnected by a social morale and a common subject of organ transplantation. But, the movie only takes the subject for examination of the three central characters, Aaliya (Aida El-Kashef), Maitreya (an astounding Neeraj Kabi) and Navin (Sohum Shah). This becomes the indispensable part of the film’s accomplishment as a poetic reflection of life and the inner philosophy that adequately every other film misses. Each episode has a distinctive feature, beauty and a way of story telling.

The first episode is about a blind photographer, the second, a Jain monk and the third one on a stockbroker. The movie gets very talky but for a good reason. The first two episodes are highly elegiac and atmospheric and the monk chapter,inarguably, remains the best of the three. It reminded me of Bela Tarr’s illustrious vision and luminous but depressing atmosphere, while Gandhi’s movie doesn’t get gloomy at all, in a admiring manner. While, a moment or two being consciously philosophical, the movie doesn’t get too preachy. It is about each individual and how far they would go, when they get into a situation. Setting aside the decisions of each character, the director’s devotion to each frame’s lucidity is highly laudable.

Sleekly photographed, but less gritty, the movie flows, like a gush of water down the rapids. Slow, poetic and visually imaginative (especially the first two episodes), the movie stands atop as a pioneer. The third episode seemed a little artificial, but nevertheless fits to the movie very well. For a grim themed movie, “Ship of Theseus” doesn’t get your heart soaked, but gives you a few fruitful laughs. It also reminds us of the many European movies that come out each year. Subtle, poignant, and very valuable.

Flavoured with refined scope and relentless devotion, the city, the windmill, the monastery, the wet roads, the slums, Stockholm, the hospital, the SLR, and the characters, work closely knit with each other and the glory should go to the sparkling performances and the director. Although, I would have been happy, if the film ended with Navin walking down the streets of Stockholm or hugging his grandmother, the finale is fitting, but too explicit for such a poetic and beautiful movie.

With unseen flaws that can be overlooked, “Ship of Theseus” is a movie that will lead the way movies to come out of the subcontinent. It is a movie that has a deep contemplation put in and incontestably finds its way in the great movie list that had come out of India. It is a soulful, often mesmerising and magnificently directed movie which could gladly help us rely on Anand Gandhi for his next venture. Kudos!

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