I don’t discriminate between movies (mainstream or art house). I either love them or hate them (sometimes in between too). But something happens to me when I watch intellectually stimulating movies. A sense of accomplishment, a sense of completion and I write these movie reviews so that I will find these gems somewhere in my pursuit of good movies. Two years back, I had this fulfillment when I watched Aaranya Kaandam and now – Ship of Theseus
Ship of Theseus is a cinema that will make you think. That will make you question your ethical values and ultimately your life’s meaning. Ship of Theseus is correlation of 3 lives connected by a common thread. A blind photographer, who could not grapple with her new eyesight, a monk, who has ethical problems with the medication he needs to take and a stock broker, who has doubts about his kidney transplant. Directed by a debutant, Anand Gandhi, the movie stars bunch of talented amateur actors – Aida Al Kashef, Neeraj Kabi and Sohum Shah in the lead. The music is by Naren Chandvarkar, Benedict Taylor and Rohit Sharma. Pankaj Kumar wielding the camera (quite literally).
The movie is based on the Ship of Theseus paradox (read about it in Wikipedia). “It raises the question of whether an object which has had all its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object” ( Quote from Wikipedia entry). To be fair, only the story of Aliya (Aida Al-Khashef) exactly matches the paradox. But the other two raise a lot of questions in the viewers mind. The monk Maitreya (Neeraj Kabi) and the young son of one of his disciples, Charvaka (Vinay Shukla) have a friendly banter which develops in to intelligent conversations that will question your faith, spirituality, ethics and what not. Whereas Navin’s (Sohum Shah) life is more equivalent to what a normal person would go through in that situation.
What makes Ship of Theseus brilliant are the conversations. Be it between Aliya and her husband Vinay or between Charvaka and Maitreya or the conversation between Navin and his grand mother. The dialogues will poke you, make fun of you and at the same time will make you think. Even the silent conversations that Navin has within himself will make you think.
Ship of Theseus is not an easy watch. As a movie, it expects a little bit more involvement and focus from you, if you are game for it, you are in for a treasure trove. Completely shot in Canon 5D Mark III, the film captures some stunning visuals and even the mundane tasks seem like poetry. Although I could guess the end, it would come as a sweet surprise for the viewers. It gives a sense of completion to the whole movie.
Ship of Theseus is a movie that will fascinate you at multiple levels. It will also provoke you in to an internal debate about your life. You can also interpret it in different ways and engage in conversation with your buddies. It’s something like an uninterpreted painting or a poetry. It’s how you take it and interpret it in your own way. I bet you will lot of questions after watching the movie. This movie should be celebrated, venerated and given a right place at the pinnacle. This is cinema at its best. Take a bow Anand Gandhi and receive ours too…
A 4.5/5 for Ship of Theseus and miss at your own peril. This is one of the best movies ever in Indian cinema.
1. Now, please send it to the Oscars.
2. Thanks to Kiran Rao and UTV for releasing such movies.