What a contemplative piece of work.. The impression of Ship of Theseus is so profound.. Here is a film which sees and seeks things beyond.. massages the soul and provides fodders after fodders for an intellectual work out..
Kudos to Kiran Rao and UTV for bringing Anand Gandhi's gem from festivals to the mainstream platform and reintroducing Indian cinema to the world with new face with a creative grace.
Ship Of Theseus is analogical tryst on screen based on the Greek myth in which Theseus' ship was slowly renewed, piece by piece, until there was no longer an original. Writers Anand Gandhi, Pankaj Kumar and Khushboo Ranka take the debate of the nature of replacement further where ship is replaced by Humans and parts are the organs for an open intellectual debate on how steady Life, Karma, body, soul, science, nature, belief, actions, reactions, responsibility before and after death remains in this changing world pendulum.
Three short stories are told to elaborate this deep philosophical debate.. starting with Aliya (filmmaker Aida El Kashef) who plays an Egyptian visual artiste who goes temporarily blind due to a cornea infection but she refuses to give up and turns photographer with help of a gadget that explains what she is shooting and then her boyfriend Vinay (Faraz Khan) describes the whole 'picture' so that she can feel the images.. she gets her vision back by an eye donor and then...
Maitreya (Neeraj Kabi) is a monk who believes in Jainism and supports the philosophy of every life big or small has the right to live with dignity and purity.. Maitreya has filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies for their atrocities on animals brought for testing samples. When found suffering from cirrhosis of liver doctors and his favorite admirer a young lawyer Charvaka (Vinay Shukla), advise Maitreya to go for a liver transplant or he'll die. Maitreya refuses to bow down to the medical advice as organ donation is against his faith and belief.. his physical condition worsens and one day..
A money minded stock market businessman Navin (Sohum Shah) is happy the way he is.. whilehis grandmother is more open mind and wants him to understand the world around him and his responsibility towards them. Being compassionate is good but better if you know where it is actually needed. One day he while nursing his grandma in hospital he comes across a kidney transplant racket where a labour named Shankar (Yashwant Wasnik), kidney gets illegally removed without his knowledge and transplanted in to a wealthy man's body.. this incident serves as a soul stirring wakeup call for Navin who himself had a kidney transplant in the same hospital.. the strive to do good lands him in Sweden..
Anand Gandhi ambition is remarkable.. he tells the story with such ease and simplicity it seems like a soothing moving meditation on screen. The director with utter confidence essays his story frame by frame while the characters develop the confidence amongst the viewers.. and gem of moments follow like Aliya's argument even when being blind with his boyfriend over a picture which she is not happy with while her boyfriend finds it 'cool' enough. The image when Aliya drops the cap of her camera admist the snow capped mountains is priceless..
Maitreya's light hearted discussion with Charvaka (Vinay Shukla), who defends individuality in life.. and the intent of scientific experiments..
Set in Mumbai the movie is technically sharp with some super camerawork by Pankaj Kumar who captures the essence of Mumbai to the fullest especially the slums..
The movie boosts some exceptional performance where renowned theatre actor Neeraj Kabi isexceptional.. filmmaker Aida El-Kashef is excellent and Sohum Shah also the producer shines as an actor. Vinay Shukla also leaves a mark. Faraz Khan also does well.
Conclusion: Ship of Theseus is certainly a new sun shine in the Indian art house.. the move to bring this from the festival to the general platform deserves a big pat.. Ship of Theseus is designed for those who savour, accomplish and resonate quality cinema.. A must for lovers of the art called cinema..