While I was entering the theater, I remembered Shyam Benegal’s praise for this movie:“The most significant film to have come out of India in a long time.”.
When the 142 minutes movie finished, there was pin drop silence in the 30% occupied movie theater. All were stunned and immersed in the thought process which was going on subconsciously inside their minds.
I walked some distance, and gently asked the 59 year old general manager from ICICI Bank, who was sitting in the far end of my row: “How was the movie, sirjee”?
After 29 seconds, he slowly turned his head and said, “That’s the movie, sirjee”
I asked him how much will he rate this movie out of 5, and six instantly fingers shot up.
It really took me a couple of minutes to totally grasp the meaning, the magnitude and the scale of the movie which I had just witnessed.
The characters, one by one, began to whisper in my ears..
“Ha ha.. We are not the same any more.. Heck, even YOU are not the same anymore…!!”
Already being speculated as the official Oscar entry, Ship of Theseus is a masterpiece, woven with a thread of art and sensibility. The flow of the story will take you through an unforgettable journey of joy, pain, death and celebration. The discussions on spirituality and reasoning life with religion and ethics will make your heart beat go faster and mind go numb.
First a little background, which will help you understand the movie and its mission.
Ship of Theseus is a million year old paradox, which has baffled philosophers and thinkers and social scientists for centuries. The core of this paradox: “Whether an object which has had all its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object.”
This wiki page explains this in a really simple manner.
Director Anand Gandhi took this paradox, and molded it into a prism of excellent cinema.. a peculiar type of creativity which tinkles our intellect and forces us to think hard.
Social issues, poverty, nationalism, creativity, freedom.. all these heavy topics will suddenly come closer to your conscience.
You would be surprised to know that Anand Gandhi was the one who wrote dialogues and screenplay for India’s longest running soap opera: Kyuunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki..
And still, in one of the scenes, amidst intense philosophical discussions on life and its meaning, the director never fails to mention that all those who watch these serials “just waste their time.” Its brave and creative cinema.
Also, its intelligent, and witty, and something magical.
The way a blind photographer uses speaking cameras and voice enabled photoshop to click and exhibit awesome photographs, day in and day out.. you realize what art is all about. You began to question your own beliefs and assumptions about life and efforts and failure. The passion and the zeal inspires you..
When you see a monk, who looks like Steve Jobs and is named Maitreya, who speaks rationale language with science and logic, and refuses to believe in any God, then you truly begin to acknowledge the wonders of spirituality and how it is different from religion.
And in another story, its heart warming to see India’s young entrepreneur understanding what life is all about, and very humbly (and sometimes aggressively) informs his grandmom that he is ambitious and compassionate, both at the same time. The way he travels all the way to Sweden to find the culprit, and the associated cinematography is awesome.
In the middle of these stories, I was really amazed how the director has succeeded in weaving in so many different elements in one simple sequence of shots. The editing and the compilation.. amazing!
The narrative style of the movie is again a masterpiece. Three stories are told, one after another.. each having its own flavor and smell.
Excerpts from Wiki entry of the movie:
Aaliya Kamal (Aida El-Kashef) is a visually impaired and celebrated photographer in the process of undergoing a cornea transplant that will restore her vision. Though the surgery is a success and Aaliya’s vision is restored, she has trouble adjusting to her newfound sense of sight and is dissatisfied with her resulting photography.
Maitreya (Neeraj Kabi), an erudite monk, is part of a petition to ban animal testing in India. When he is diagnosed with liver cirrhosis, his reluctance towards medication is questioned and he must now depend on the people he’s been fighting against – a path he refuses to take.
A very young stockbroker, Navin (Sohum Shah), has just had his kidney transplanted. He soon learns of a case of kidney tourism involving an impoverished bricklayer, Shankar. His initial fear is that his new kidney originally belonged to this man. Further investigation proves otherwise, but Navin takes matters into his own hands and confronts the actual recipient in Stockholm.
I cancelled several meetings, took lift from 3 random guys on the road, told lie to my boss, got drenched in the rains and did several other things to manage this movie, on a weekday, amidst heavy rains and showers. And it was totally worth it.
In case you love documentary style, old classic art cinema, then this movie will make you whisper, “That’s the movie, sirjee..”
Do share your experiences in the comments.. Will you watch it?