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Thursday, July 18, 2013

'Ship of Theseus': Cinema at its very best

'Ship of Theseus' has finally arrived in Indian cinemas, in a wide-yet-limited release, nothing short of a mean feat because it is cinema at its very best, in its purest, a celebration of cinema from the land of escapist romances. Its being backed by Kiran Rao, more widely known as the better half of Aamir Khan, has made its sailing somewhat smooth, as it is not just a film without compromises of the basest kind, but is also what can be labelled niche cinema, one that uses multiple languages (and hence, mandatorily, subtitles), represents multiple ethnicities, weaves hard-core issues in a somewhat loosely-structured narrative, is bereft of saleable names in its list of cast-members, and explores a philosophical paradox.

This multi-layered film energizes and challenges the viewer like few other films have done in the recent past. There are so many ideas (in fact, too many to be honest) that have been packed in, that it may baffle and bewilder the complacent viewer. But look deep, or stay patient, and the film starts to converse with its use of cinematic idioms. It stimulates intellectually, and positively, and it does that even to the ones in whom the appreciative spirit for all good things (like good cinema or good music) may have apparently been hibernating for long.

It is difficult for me not to wax eloquent about a film like 'Ship of Theseus', however hard I may try. Suffice to say that if this happens to be cinema, then what we keep going gaga about most of the times are nothing but cinema of a lesser kind. Superlatives have been showered on the film and all its major aspects at many a forum, national and international, so I am not going to go on and on, I just ask all cinema-lovers to embrace it in their own way.
Let the film engage you in a conversation, maybe with just your own self, after you have experienced it. Fractured lives, segmented narratives have rarely seemed so whole, so harmonious. Watch 'Ship of Theseus' and join me in thanking writer-director Anand Gandhi, producer Sohum Shah, and presenter Kiran Rao (these three most of all) for making us truly proud about our cinema.




13 comments:

mehul said...

Thanks for the beautiful review.
Again, you have said a lot about a film without elaborating the storyline or without even discussing much about the film's exceptional theme or treatment

Miimzo said...

About the film: Stimulating, electric, and entertaining (in a whole new way).

About the post: Timely; taut, and precise.

Imran said...

A fantastic piece of cinema.

Joy said...

It's a film that coaxes us to have multiple viewings. I wish the exhibitors allot more show-timings (at convenient time slots) to this film. More and more people need to benefit from an experience like this.

Siddhu said...

Deserves a standing ovation from us all.

Arpita said...

Kudos for the writer-director and his entire team, and hats off to UTV!

Kaustav Bakshi said...

A very insightful review...am even more inspired to watch the film now...but sadly I have not found a suitable showtime! :)

inder said...

Awesome indeed. Praises aren't too many for a film like this. It is intellectually stimulating, thought-provoking, thoroughly life-affirming, and multi-dimensionally entertaining.

LoverBoy said...

It takes some time to warm up to a film like 'Ship of Theseus' and my experience at the night show at South City echoed this fact.
People seated next to me were visibly restless as the film started. A guy who had walked in with his girlfriend - possibly coaxed by her - even remarked that he would go bash up his and her buddies who had recommended the film if he found it to be an 'aantel' (bong slang for intellectual prizewinners that happen to be dry and vacuous) fare! But, at interval (which should have better been avoided, if you ask me), I could see that all my co-watchers were moved, stunned, awestruck........ and longed for the rest of the film to unfold.
We were, and naturally are likely to be, dazzled by its sheer brilliance. It does not fail to charge us emotionally, it sensitizes without pandering to melodrama and petty sentimentality. I would also assert that it calls for multiple viewings.
Long live cinema; long live cinematic endeavors like 'Ship of Theseus'.

ankit said...

'Ship of Theseus' is art-house cinema, no doubt, but it is nothing pretentious. All it asks for is a little bit of patience from the lay viewer; it surely delivers its message loud and clear, as every empathetic individual is likely to relate to its emotional core. However, let me add that the film's multiple layers can be peeled and enjoyed only by a connoisseur of a viewer, or only after the second or the third viewing.
May the film have its place of pride in the contemporary history of Indian cinema.

aniruddh said...

Rarely do films have greater number of venues or showtimes in the second week...... but this film IS an exception, a rarity...... and mighty glad that Kolkatans are queuing up for it.

Cherry Blossom said...

Touched by the brilliance of the film, and loved the fact that you have chosen not to dissect the film and have rather kept the elusiveness intact.

Vicky Mukerjee said...

Wonderful........ it is the best film of this year, at least till now. And may it win more hearts in the days to come (I'm sure it will).