In October 2012 during the Mumbai Film Festival I watched Holy Motors which was the best film at the festival for me until, I watched Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus. It blew my mind and straight away became the best Indian film I have watched in a long time going on to become the best film at the festival for me. From that day onwards this film has been occasionally fluttering in and out of my mind. This weekend I saw it for the 2nd time and the pleasure it gave to the senses remained the same. I cherished it more this time around. The beauty of the film is that it gives you the heightened pleasure you get after reading a good book.
Three stories make one film. The first one is about a blind photographer Aaliya Kamal (Aida El-Kasheef) who keeps questioning her talent in spite of the reassurance from her boyfriend that she is good. An operation that restores her sight takes away the magic and beauty of her photographs and makes her question the way she sees the world around her. The second story is about Maitreya (Neeraj Kabi) a monk who is fighting a case against cruelty by way of animal testing. A liver disease sets him on a path of an inner conflict that challenges the way he looks at the world and beyond. The third story is of Naveen (Sohum Shah) a money obsessed stock breaker who has gone through a kidney transplant. He stumbles upon a person whose kidney is stolen during a routine appendix operation. This sets him off on a search to find the stolen kidney and discovers a larger purpose of life beyond money and materialism.
Though the film talks about philosophy and esoteric issues of life it is not verbose or pretentious. In fact Gandhi uses humour to a great extent in the 2nd and the 3rd story to lighten the heavy handed debate that rages amongst the characters. Out of the three the monk’s story is my favourite followed by the stock broker’s story. Neeraj Kabi breathes life into his character and makes you feel like meeting him and having a long conversation about life and its mysteries.
This film will keep entering your consciousness at every stage of your life and will be a different experience every time you watch it depending on what state of mind you are at that time. Anand Gandhi has now been cursed in a way as a filmmaker by reaching such great heights as a debut filmmaker. The struggle for him would be now to make a single story film that proves he is not a one film wonder and to stay sane amidst the god level applause the film will get him.
Word of mouth – Watching Ship of Theseus is like attending an enriching, entertaining and soul satisfying discourse.
Rating - **** ½ (Excellent)
Ticket meter – worth any amount.
P.S - It is the first Indie film where I witnessed a full house with audience clapping at the end.view less