Who would have thought.
The first time I heard about Ship of Theseus was when I saw a news item that mentioned Kiran Rao (Khan) presenting a film. I had watched her Dhobi Ghat with keen interest, and wasn’t necessarily disappointed. So ‘who was this Anand Gandhi, the maker of Ship of Theseus‘, I wondered and ‘googled’ him! Then started a series of coincidences.
May be around 2005 or even earlier, a friend had been to Ahmedabad and used to hang around NID. He saw a film there, liked it, and when he came back to Hyderabad he narrated to me its story. The story was about a young man who shouts at his mom for some reason and appreciates his brother’s painting.. while his mom carries forward the negative feelings caused by this scenario to people whom she meets, the brother carries all the positivity around…and this carrying forward forms a circle. That story stuck to my head, and even though I had wanted to see that film, my friend had forgotten it’s title and i forgot pestering him about it. Turns out Anand Gandhi is the maker of that film!
My waiting for Ship of Theseus had just begun!
My interest on this film had made me read any and every news about it and knowing me the looker for signs and the sucker for news online, I would follow the film news on Facebook. Then I read the story line of the film.
I had participated in the 48 hour film festival Hyderabad chapter, and the genre I picked was Silent, meaning I had to make a silent film in less than 48 hours. After a sleepless night, trying to work on a story in that genre, after about 20 hours had faded, an idea struck my mind. A color blind novelist, helped by his friend, writes great fiction. When he finds a color blindness cure (creative liberty), he kicks the friend out and realizes he cant write the novels the way he used to! I was so disappointed by my own filmmaking capabilities that I decided not to submit my entry, and of course I was late by few hours!
Turns out, a similar story is a major part of Ship of Theseus.
Whenever someone mentions, Ramgopal Varma, they mention it either with strong liking or even stronger disliking. I tend to differ with them in the sense that I entertain both like and dislike towards him and his films. In a sense I would explain my feelings towards him as that of Howard Roark’s feelings towards Gail Wynand. (Am no Howard Roark, but always thought Gail Wynand’s characterization suits RGV better!) I had always wondered, if RGV would ever make a film like Man from the Earth, where philosophical discussion takes the center seat, yet keeps the audiences hooked, almost making them question their own limitation of thoughts. And so on and so forth…
I work in Telugu filmmaker Puri Jagannath’s office. Am not sure if he is aware of my existence in his office at all, but I like the fact that Ramgopal Varma is a frequent visitor to this office. Just as I left my office (on a Sunday), to watch Ship of Theseus (finally), I heard that RGV and my boss, the Telugu filmmaker were in the lobby. Now whenever important people are in the lobby, we are not allowed to enter it, even if we have to just cross past it! I was, as usual, getting late for the film, and finally some gentleman who saw my attempts to walk past the lobby, kindly told me…”you can just walk past sir!”
RGV was discussing some murder scene with someone, probably a cinematographer. I didn’t see him, and of course am sure he wouldn’t be aware of my existence. But I had crossed RGV to watch Ship of Theseus. (This coincidence is purely metaphorical for those who can understand… it was as if I had to walk past my feelings of respect and disrespect to the usual filmmaker that RGV is to watch this film)
And about Ship of Theseus may be another blog post… may be…but towards the end of this film I had to hold my tears back…else my wife, sitting beside me would end up gladly watching me, rather than the film it self…which I would recommend to anyone sane. It’s a brilliant film, something that engages you physically, mentally, emotionally and then yes…a rarity in Indian cinema – spiritually!
(P.S. that this film has words like ‘intellectual masturbation’, a wording which I thought I created to tweet to RGV was just another coincidence… and what did i Tweet to RGV went something like this I guess… “all entertainment cinema = socially accepted emotional masturbation…” sigh!)