In her twitter bio, Svetlana Naudiyal describes herself as Murphy’s favourite child. So over to the child who is just back from a country where there is almost no cinema culture and she was trying to make them understand what is the point of a film festival. Back to India and here’s her recco of the film Kshay, which has been doing the rounds of film festivals since quite sometime.
There is no local popular cinema in the theaters. The only theaters are the ones in the malls. From malls to pirated dvd stores – all you’d prominently see is Hollywood. I’ve just returned from Cebu City, so to say, the second largest city in Philippines. The townesque city is burgeoning with Malls, Multiplexes, BPOs and all possible American Chains. The city glistens, roads are well done, cab drivers never say no and their peso is better placed against dollar than the rupee. In this seemingly ‘developing’ state of affairs, local cinema has no ground beneath its feet. I get to meet a few Cebuano Filmmakers and see their films. Great work and talented, no doubt! But what do they do?
Cut to – my country, my crazy cinephile country.
Here back home, I see Kshay on the big screen, and I am moved by the mere thought that here someone can not only make the film they want to but also hope that it would see the light of theatrical release someday.
But is that why you should support it? Just because someone really struggled to make an Indie film and then eventually managed to get it to the box office?
Kshay, as the very poetic title suggests, corrodes.
Corrodes the being.
Chhaya, a simple housewife, becomes strangely obsessed with an unfinished idol of Goddess Lakshmi. Her husband, Arvind, works for a reckless building contractor and struggles to make ends meet while reeling under the guilt of not being able to give Chhaya the life he promised to. Their lives are thrown in a downwards spiral as Chhaya slowly becomes oblivious of their circumstance and succumbs to faith turned into obsession.
It is not often that the frames and sequences of a film hover in your mind for long after you see it. They corrode the mind, resonate with life and create a surreal-real world of obsession, hopelessness and love. It’s beautiful how the textures, lights and score accentuate the psychological corrosion of Chhaya. Together with Arvind’s frustrations and the hopelessness a viewer sees in their situation, the film builds a strange tempo as it progresses; it might not be evident in the pace but most certainly so in the feeling it leaves one with.
Shot in black and white, the cinematography by Abhinay Khoparzi, is highlight of the film. The eerie absurdity of dreams, delusions, reality and the textures, all stand out in black & white frames. The background score is by director Karan Gour himself is the perfect companion to it. Rasika is unbelievably real as Chhaya and beautifully brings out her pain, coldness, obsession; Alekh complements her as much in portraying Arvind’s frustrations, hope and hopelessness. Even the small roles of building contractor and neighbour lady, are marked by really fine performances.
To me, story apart, Kshay also questions – questions faith, questions reason and questions the merciless set up we live in. It’s a world where WTC crash becomes table-top merchandise.. Exploiters continue to have their cake and eat it too.. Exploited barely find a way.. It’s a world of faith becoming obsession and obsession ending only in….
Coming back to the question – Don’t watch it because it’s another oh-so-poor-striving-for-support indie film, watch it because it’s good cinema, that totally deserves your time and money.
– Here’s a preview of Kshay’s hauntingly gorgeous music –
Kshay OST – Home
Kshay OST – Everywhere
– And the trailer
– PVR JUHU (Mumbai) will have one show running in the next week at 6:35PM. Don’t miss this one!
– And if our recco isn’t enough to convince you, here are some more reviews – Namrata Joshi of Outlook rates it 3.5/4, Karan Anshuman (Mumbai Mirror) has rated it 3.5/5 and Aseem Chhabra (Rediff) has also given it 3.5/5.