I had first heard of this film when a certain close friend had just returned from an adventure at FTII, where he was helping on a student film. And that led to me viewing a shitty print on YouTube. The film finally released this week after many years in obscurity. This film defines the word ‘cult film’ like no other Indian film I can think of. This film is not one bit easy. And no, it’s not your wannabe avant-garde indie film, many of which we see today. It’s pure avant-garde madness.
The film follows the dadaist adventure of Om and his rather strange family. I could go on and list out the whole story and plot but I’d rather link you to it. I am doing this because the story doesn’t play out linearly on screen and the piecing it out in the end is pretty rewarding. And no, it’s impossible to get all of it at once. It’s like a psychedelic trip when you can’t understand all of what’s happening but you wish you did. And there is a reason for the forced non-sense in the film. Over the years, surrealism has gone mainstream and just about any shit passes off as “surreal and brilliant”. This led to a movement called the Panic Movement in the 1960s and one of the people behind it was filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. His full length feature films were my induction into this world of madness. And here I am taking the liberty to state that Kamal Swaroop’s film is just that- it’s anti-film– mainstream, parallel, Shyam Benegal, Middle Cinema- whatever it may be. The film breaks and twists each and every rule that there maybe.
The dialogues for example are idiosyncratic and may seem stupid; but then you realise that’s exactly why they were written that way – to be stupid. The flow of narrative is non sequitur par excellence. It takes a dig at the sociopolitical and cultural conditions of the late eighties; one of the characters refer to the Prime Minister as Raju! This film would have been Sigmund Freud’s wet dream (yes it does have a Freud- Fraud joke too). The film is immensely layered- I watched it for the 3rd time today and I was smiling when I discovered the beauty of the otherwise humorous sexual encounter between the characters of Gayatri and Jagdish– the father screaming her name cycling around represents the superego. Or maybe I am watching too much of Slavoj Žižek.
And that’s the thing with this movie, every viewing of this film leads to a new discovery. I could go and on about the film but I had already made up my mind on not reviewing it. I am not good enough to do so.
But to see 6 people in the auditorium hurt the film lover in me, this is a film that every film fanatic needs to watch and on the big screen. So go watch it.
I am waiting for the DVD- because I more than love this film. This makes me proud of us as a movie making nation though it is against everything our films stand for.