It’s unfortunate when some really well-made Hindi films do not get released abroad. It happened with films like Paan Singh Tomar, Shaitaan, Pyaar Ka Punchnama and a couple of others as well. Adding onto the above list is another compelling indie movie that I saw last week in Mumbai. I earnestly wish the producers would screen this film out of India as this truly has an international appeal. It was an innovative and honest attempt by Anand Gandhi – to make a film about human values and address questions concerning life and our existence… quite something aye?
‘Ship of Theseus’, written and directed by Anand Gandhi and presented by Kiran Rao, stimulates your thinking power and requires you to be patient, objective and open-minded. The film is made in English and you have to watch it attentively in order to understand and relate to its characters and their perspectives. The film has a lot of critical layers and is brilliantly segmented into three different parts. Yes, the long pauses can get a tad bit too much to handle but those are necessary for the imminent scenes in the film.
What is Ship Of Theseus?
According to Wikipedia, The Ship of Theseus, also known as Theseus’s paradox, is a paradox that raises the question of whether an object which has had all its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The paradox is most notably recorded by Plutarch in Life of Theseus from the late 1st century. Plutarch asked whether a ship which was restored by replacing all and every of its wooden parts, remained the same ship.
The Film ..
Likewise in the film, all 3 stories tie in neatly with the overarching idea of Theseus’ paradox that raise pertinent questions about identity, death, and morality – of whether an ideal/quality can exist independent of its champions. The characters in Ship of Theseus are representative of these very ideas. Does a ship, whose every part has been replaced piece by piece, remain the same ship in the end? Similarly, if a person who has had an organ transplant remain the same person he previously was?
In the first story, we’re introduced to Aliya (Aida El-Kashef), a blind photographer who uses intuition to capture brilliant black-and-white images. A cornea transplant restores her vision, but she fears she may have lost her stimulus.
In the second, we meet Maitreya (Neeraj Kabi), a Jain monk and staunch animal-rights activist, who is diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and must consider a transplant. On discovering that the medication that could save his life might have been tested on animals, he refuses treatment.
The third story is centered on Naveen (Sohum Shah), a stockbroker and the recent recipient of a donated kidney. He becomes obsessed with bringing justice to a poor man he meets, whose kidney was illegally stolen during an appendix surgery.
Gandhi takes us inside the minds of the three protagonists, showing us what they stand for, and how they’ve changed over the course of the journey that they undertake during the film. The three stories interconnect right at the end, giving us an emotional climax. All the lead actors perform terrifically and convincingly. I especially loved the verbal witty exchanges between the monk and the trainee. Well-directed and conceptualized, Ship Of Theseus is a cleverly made film and a must watch for all. Take a bow, Anand Gandhi.
All I can say is – at the moment, I feel it is really the golden period of Indian Cinema. On one hand, we have a potboiler Chennai Express creating waves across the country and on the other hand, an experimental film like Ship of Theseus is getting appreciated by critics and the masses. I do really wish for more such films to release world-wide!
Check out the trailer below:
Rating: 4/5 stars
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