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The flawed ‘philosophy’ of Ship of Theseus

By MK Raghavendra • Published on July 25, 2013

In his column “Minority View”, MK Raghavendra explains why he found Ship of Theseus to be logically flawed in its much-touted philosophy

ship of theseus[I] t is rare to find an Indian film so universally lauded as an artistic and intellectual achievement – by achievers in their own right – as Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus has been. Gandhi’s film is also unusual in that it is intended as philosophical reflection rather than social critique, which has been the normal approach of non-mainstream Indian cinema. The film has been made with a small budget but it is visually striking – not only because of the cinematography but also because of the seamless editing – and the performances are authentic. After all this has been said, one feels even guilty at taking issue with it and citing its inadequacies; still, the film is feeble conceptually, as this review will try to demonstrate.

Ship of Theseus is a ‘feel good’ film, a film which tries to affirm that the traditional virtues (like fortitude, honesty and simplicity) will be eventually rewarded. The ‘feel good’ film Forrest Gump (1994), for instance, is about the miraculous successes of a simpleton who eventually becomes a hero. There have been few ‘feel good’ films in India hitherto perhaps because popular cinema has been ‘escapist’; it has not acknowledged the realities of our society. The optimism of the ‘feel good’ film depends on first admitting many things that we gloss over and only then making its affirmations. It is only in recent years, with the arrival of the ‘indie’ film, that the filmmaker is even venturing into the poorer neighborhoods and this is therefore the appropriate time for something like Ship of Theseus. With digital filmmaking gaining ground, the indie film is reaching the more sophisticated audiences in India and the success of Anand Gandhi’s film is heartening.

As most readers will be aware, Ship of Theseus tells three different stories sequentially, all three stories being constructed around organ transplant. The first story is about a blind photographer named Aliya Kamal (Aida El-Kashef) who takes pictures aided by her hearing. She is wildly successful until she gets a cornea transplant and regains her eyesight. After this happens, however, her pictures begin to lose their unique quality and Aliya compares this to a centipede in a fable which, when it tries to understand how it moves, loses its capacity for movement. There isn’t much more to say about the story but it is evident that the director is wrestling with ideas pertaining to art and beauty. The message is apparently that we produce art without quite understanding the process; if we understood it, we might stop producing art.

The problem with the first story is the metaphor of ‘blind photography’. Unlike most of the other artistic objects which demand clear artistic intent, a photograph is taken by a mechanical device and one could take pictures even without looking. But the issue to be examined is whether a picture taken blindly could be ‘art’ – except by accident. Aliya is guided by what she hears but how would that help her compose since there is so much in each picture which cannot owe to noise? Then there is the question of the artist’s judgment of his or her own work. Unless one’s art passes one’s own judgment, it cannot be ‘art’ – regardless of how others evaluate or describe it, and the blind Aliya cannot judge her own pictures. A blind photographer is perhaps like someone who writes poetry in a language that he or she does not know – by arbitrarily cutting and pasting words from an existing text.

The second story revolves around a Jain ascetic Maitreya (Neeraj Kabi) who is fighting pharmaceutical companies to prevent them from testing their drugs on animals and ignoring the guidelines. Maitreya discovers that he is suffering from liver cirrhosis and only a transplant will save him. Since a transplant involves the use of drugs legitimized through testing on animals, he refuses to have it despite the pleas of his admirers, especially a young lawyer named Charvaka. Maitreya prefers to starve to death and therefore gradually weakens – until Charvaka argues that the human body contains so many living organisms that it is foolish to regard one’s body as separate from the milieu. Since they are constantly living and dying inside us, killing animals is an unavoidable fact of existence, is his argument. Maitreya killing himself by refusing treatment is therefore greater violence.

The second story celebrates commitment just as the first one celebrates fortitude but the difficulty with it comes from the easy resolution in which Maitreya agrees to the liver transplant. My argument here is not only that someone as intelligent and committed to a cause – as Maitreya is shown to be – would have answers to the questions that Charvaka poses. Since Maitreya is not merely an individual but represents a religious viewpoint, his going against his own tenets for ‘logical’ reasons is also indicative of the unreasonableness of the religious viewpoint. Charvaka’s argument is itself not watertight because there is a difference between the ‘violence’ unwittingly caused to organisms living inside our bodies and that caused to animals because of our conscious decisions. Once Maitreya agrees to the transplant, therefore, everything he has stood for comes crashing down. Since his life is left without its moral basis, one wonders how Charvaka could still respect him, as he once did. The film is, in effect, celebrating a virtue – that of commitment to a cause – but also arranging a ‘happy ending’ in which the protagonist abandons it.

SOTThe third story is less ‘philosophical’ than the first two and is about a young stockbroker Navin (Sohum Shah) who has just had a kidney transplant suspecting that the organ he received was stolen from a construction worker named Shankar (Yashwant Wasnik). Navin has been constantly chastised by his grandmother for being ‘socially uncaring’ and although he discovers that his kidney came from a legitimate donor, he pursues the recipient of the stolen kidney doggedly to Stockholm. The result of his efforts is that Shankar gets a handsome sum of money – which he would rather keep than have his stolen kidney returned. This is a simpler story without the intellectual airs of the first two but there is also very little of interest in it. The fact of money compensating Shankar for his loss also offers a cheap kind of satisfaction – as in the Hollywood courtroom drama in which the huge monetary compensation granted to the victims is the emotional pleasure offered to the audience.

The least admirable aspect of Ship of Theseus is evidently its philosophizing. Its intellectual debates are full of logical weaknesses and even its title makes little sense. The ‘Ship of Theseus’ – as has been widely publicized – pertains to a parable about identity from Ancient Greece: If every part of a ship is replaced, will it remain the same ship, is the question posed. Anand Gandhi’s film has nothing to do with the issue of identity and is merely about different people having a ‘part’ replaced. But if only the mast of Theseus’ ship had been replaced, would its identity have changed and could the above question even be posed? The film concludes with an epilogue in which it is revealed that the organs received by the three – and several others – belong to one man. But this only means that parts of a ‘ship’ went to other ‘ships’ but that still does not touch upon the issue of identity.

As already indicated there are severe logical fallacies in some of the film’s other notions as well but most of those endorsing Ship of Theseus have still been excited. I am not sure that Anand Gandhi is conscious of what is happening but his camera is always coming to his rescue. It arranges distractions for us when the arguments themselves collapse and we move swiftly quickly from intellectual engagement to experiencing sensory pleasure. The most striking sequences in the film – like the Jain ascetics walking off to god-knows-where – have neither a narrative not a philosophical purpose, but they are wonderfully shot. We should perhaps bring a key fact to the filmmaker’s attention – that Ship of Theseus could not have been as much of a critical success if his cinematographer had been visually impaired.

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98 Responses to “The flawed ‘philosophy’ of Ship of Theseus”

  1. Astha Rawat says:

    Dear writer, the empty and vast landscapes that you consider are mere fillers and feeding to momentary sensory pleasure, I thought of them entirely differently. The vastness of the landscape is very primal, in my humble opinion, to questions of our existence that drive our ideas of identity. The infinity of our universe, from vastness to minuteness (the bacterial shot) brings to forefront the larger picture. This very subtly points to "Total Perspective Vortex" I am amazed it can be thought of as a crutch when clearly it was meant as a tool to juxtaposition the character's dilemma – I read it as a layered ode and welcome the film as almost seminal.

  2. My two cents here. Aliyas's own judgement about her art is narrated in one single sentence. She tells her boyfriend who is explaining her the duck photograph, "It doesn't sound exciting". For me, that was one aha moment. A visual medium needs to even sound exciting to someone.

    Secondly, Maitreya's transformation to agree to take medication is not merely because the writer wants an happy ending. While Charvaka tells Maitreya about unilateralis cordyceps, he goes to mention how human body is a colony of bacteria. So if Maitreya's existential equality applies to the entire spectrum of living organisms and not only humans, by not taking medication isn't he imposing some sort of torture on the bacteria that form his body? I assume that realization makes him switch sides.

    But I totally agree with you about the Identity part and it tells only about parts being replaced. That was the only flaw I found in the narrative.

  3. Nitesh Naik says:

    Spoiler Alerts!!!! @@##%$#@

  4. I'm glad that you appreciate the cinematography, editing and performance, which contributes major part in storytelling.
    On the contrary, it is not easy to make 'feel good' film and it would become much more difficult when one choose to make a film like Ship of Theseus this with no star cast and limited production.
    As you rightly pointed out about appropriate time and the reach of digital films which came to his assistance and it also brings hope to many indie filmmakers and encourages making such experimental films because there are audience starving to see unusual films, if this story line really has some philosophical flaws, then hopefully flawless movies in the near future. Thanks for the review.

  5. What's wrong if a film is a 'feel good film?'

  6. While I enjoyed watching SOT and being an indie filmmaker myself..I would encourage everyone to see the film..and not to take anything away from the filmmaker and the appreciation it has received..THE WRITER HAS PUT FORTH SO SIMPLY EVERYTHING THAT I FELT WHEN I SAW THE FILM..KUDOS TO M.K RAGHAVENDRA..THIS IS A WELL THOUGHT OUT AND WELL WRITTEN ARTICLE..

  7. "A blind photographer is perhaps like someone who writes poetry in a language that he or she does not know – by arbitrarily cutting and pasting words from an existing text." —-but in the film Aliya doesn't go around clicking pictures randomly. She sees through sounds, through others eyes and not only that…she asks her boyfriend for a description of the pictures and she uses text to voice technology to edit her pictures.And she doesn't stop there. She prints the pictures and feels the etched images….

    Aliya is not the one who is blind. I think it is the reviewer who was blinded.

  8. Interesting question. 'Feel good' films try to overlook the ugliness in the world and soften up everything – while pretending to be 'realistic'. Ultimately, they sweeten everything they look at and turn it into kitsch. Serious art cannot be kitsch but must acknowledge the ugly and the perverse.

  9. The debate in this article has aroused my anxiety to watch the film at the earliest.

  10. "Blind aliya can't judge her own pictures. "

    False, she converts them into a Braille photograph, touches them and decides which ones to throw and which ones to keep. She asks him to vectorize it so that she can feel them with her finger tips before deciding on their quality.
    __________________________________________

    ""his going against his own tenets for ‘logical’ reasons is also indicative of the unreasonableness of the religious viewpoint."".

    The will to life is ILLOGICAL. There is no logical reason that can come from a 3rd person perspective of universe that says that human life is worth living.
    So, to say that the monk has accepted logical reasons is wrong because 'Since we are killing bacteria everyday why not kill animals and humans as well' is also a LOGICAL extrapolation of the argument given by charvaka. What he decided was, by being alive (even if it means by taking medicines and causing suffering to animals in pharma companies), he ll save more lives than the ones he killed by using medicines. Also, the suffering of the bacteria which are DEPENDANT on him for survival will be greatly INCREASED if maitreya dies!
    So,
    Amount of suffering reduced >> Amount of suffering caused.

    That is why he says "It is not yet time for me to die". That he has a purpose in life that is yet incomplete and since that purpose is reducing suffering, he has now accepted the reality that he HAS to cause suffering to a few animals (via western medicine) to be alive and there by save MORE lives. If he had decided not to take medication, he'd have died and the case would have gone nowhere which would cause MORE and MORE of suffering than the ones he saved by NOT taking medication. By hoping that the body would cure itself, he had delayed the treatment as much as he can till he faced a probable death. Facing a difficult situation, he took a decision.
    ________________________________

    ""money compensating Shankar for his loss also offers a cheap kind of satisfaction"".

    No it is not! it ends with a moral dilemma whether he should let Shankar keep the money or still fight (even against shankar) to get the kidney back. This shows the difference in the economic situation of Navin and Shankar which has forced them to value a body part and money in a completely different way. It is fine for Navin to say that a body part is more valuable than money, but for Shankar it is NOT, as long as he is alive. This is a blow to Navin that there are still people on this very earth who live in dire poverty and thereby value money more than their body parts. Decreasing their dependency on money (by charity/RTI or some other voluntary social work) will be the new goal for Navin. When the grandma says "You don't even know who need your support" People like shankar are exactly the ones that need it, NOT for saving kidneys, but for saving them from poverty so that they can value their bodies more than jugaad for money! That no human being should ever have to sell his/her body parts to survive, is the purpose that Navin will probably dedicate his future to.

    ""Anand Gandhi’s film has nothing to do with the issue of identity"".

    Yes it does! It shows the transformation that has occurred in these individuals that changed their identity to being a better happier and more-at-peace-with-existence human beings. Each of the three characters have undergone a fundamental change in their persona, the change was triggered entirely because of this transplant. If photographer never got her eyes, if monk never needed a liver transplant, if Navin didn't need a kidney transplant, none of these changes would have occurred and That is the change in identity Ship of Theseus, in this context refers to.

    Are Aliya/Maitreya/Navin the same as they were before? No.

  11. Harikrishna Katragadda says:

    While I agree that Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus does not have a deep philosophical unity, I disagree with MK Raghavendra's objections to the movie on these counts.

    I am sure an art critic can articulate it better, but saying "But the issue to be examined is whether a picture taken blindly could be ‘art’ – except by accident. " is problematic. A lot of 20th century artists (Pollock, Anish Kapoor), musicians (John Cage), poets, songs(some of Beatles) have created works by 'accident'. It does not mean that they were ignorant about the art form itself.

    "A blind photographer is perhaps like someone who writes poetry in a language that he or she does not know – by arbitrarily cutting and pasting words from an existing text." is certainly an incorrect analogy. Aliya was using her other senses to compose her photographs. She was editing her shots partly based on her boyfriends' description and partly by printing the line drawings and "reading" them. The fact that she has a strong point of view about what works and what doesn't when she disagrees with her non-blind boyfriend, qualifies her as an artist with an intent.

    "Since his life is left without its moral basis, one wonders how Charvaka could still respect him, as he once did." For me the resolution to this is the path of Buddha- the middle ground. Between the two extremes is the path of wisdom. Charavaka probably ends up respecting Maitreya more for a balanced stance, which is practical and possible to emulate.

    "The film concludes with an epilogue in which it is revealed that the organs received by the three – and several others – belong to one man. But this only means that parts of a ‘ship’ went to other ‘ships’ but that still does not touch upon the issue of identity."
    After Aliya gains her vision through cornea transplant, her photography is no longer what it used to be. Would she remain the same artist?
    With liver transplant, Maitreya will no longer believe in his extreme religious viewpoint, which was the basis of his belief system. Would he remain the same monk?
    Navin sheds his complacent attitude to life and society which is set by his doubts about the real donor of his kidney. Would he remain a socially inert stockbroker after this?

    "The most striking sequences in the film – like the Jain ascetics walking off to god-knows-where – have neither a narrative not a philosophical purpose, but they are wonderfully shot. "
    This was one of the most poetic moment of the movie for me. Very movingly edited, sound designed and visually pregnant. Those windmills represent generating electricity for urban life in the most benign way without destroying earth's resources. Its a point about sustenance, wisdom and non-violence exemplified by Maitreya.

  12. At last, an attempt at logic. Here are my responses:
    a) Accident is certainly permissible in art but only provided one's senses are still in play to judge whether what one has produced can be considered 'art' in one's estimation. Pollock was certainly able to judge what he produced visually and probably destroyed many canvases which he regarded as unsatisfactory as all artists are bound to do.
    b) Photographs involve sight and visual beauty. what you are suggesting is that this sense of beauty was transferred to touch. She touched her photographs to find out whether they were beautiful. There is still the issue of reconciling what is beautiful to the eye with what is beautiful to touch. How does this happen since she began photography long after she went blind?
    c) If Maitreya arrives at a new 'balanced' ethics which admits cruelty to animals under specific circumstances, shouldn't we know what that is to be convinced that he is not simply changing his 'philosophy' to save his life? One cannot abandon the viewpoint one holds to dearly without having to account clearly for why one does it.
    d) If I am cheated by someone and learn to stop trusting people, would I become a different person in terms of identity? If I have my knee replaced through surgery, would I become a different person? Change is perpetual in every person but to say that all change involves involves the notion of identity is to trivialize 'identity'.
    e) As regards you last assertion about what windmills etc. mean to you personally, I cannot contradict you but I'm sure the same images mean other things to other people. The point is that they cannot sustain any single meaning strongly although they are striking.

  13. Pranav Gupta says:

    I totally agree with your perception and I am satisfied with the answers you have given to all the questions that the author of this article had aroused in me! Brilliant explanation and completely makes sense, I hope the author gets it too!

  14. Pranav Gupta Thank you

  15. You are a foolish judgemental half baked AH..to write such a review about a phenomenal movie….

    I am sure you have no idea/skill/talent to make such a distintively flavored movie.

    There is no such thing as Logically correct…it all depends on the perspective and paradigms.

    so shut the f up.

    I think you are trying to troll… you are cheap. who cares if you think so…

  16. Ravi S Alok says:

    I read articles of Dear Cinema and expect them to be of certain calibre. Frankly, I’m little disappointed with the quality of this review. Most of the points questioning the analogy (not philosophy) of Mr. Gandhi's characters with the paradox of ‘Ship of Theauses’ do not have reasonable ground and calling them flawed is its biggest flaw. Most of the comments before mine have tried addressing its trivialness and I would like to draw attention towards the fact that how this review is not balanced and lacks objectivity. Usage of 'feel good' to describe the film (as it ends with realization, enlightenment, awareness of various characters, recipients of new organs at the end of their respective conflicts) and questioning its merit simply for that reason is stupid. Also, statement such as "We should perhaps bring a key fact to the filmmaker’s attention – that Ship of Theseus could not have been as much of a critical success if his cinematographer had been visually impaired" smell of some personal prejudice. Since, Form & content are intangible, visuals only work if backed by strong content, enabling them educe various emotions. I suggest the writer to refrain from reviewing films such as 'The Ship of Theseus' or 'Amour'. They require evolved sensibility of cinema, purely as a form of art and not entertainment!

  17. HOWER U BRO ?? I WAS JUST REMEMBER U

  18. But the picture of the two men arguing came out to be good only by chance. Aalia judged a scene by its sound and it came out to be good visuallyExcept the scene involving" pond and ducks" where she uses her imagination.There, what she could not have been done by a visually . One of the reasons why she was getting good pictures when blind was that she did not care about camera angles and positions and she would just click a theme.And therefore,she could not understand why the picture of the two man arguing had anything good about it. And any picture which she took and looked good because of camera position was a fluke

    I think that the pictures she clicked when she was blind were better edited and those she clicked after were just shown in a crude form and in a bad resolution. Weren't they?I think they were.

  19. Rina Sen says:

    It's a FILM, for god'sake-NOT an academic course in Logic & Philosophy.Yours is NOT a film review, but a FLAWED 'professorial' approach to a philosophy dissertation! You have every right to prefer 'FEEL BAD' films personally, but 'feel good/feel lousy' is not relevant to film aesthetic.You might not like a film, no issue with that, but you have to review it in filmic terms.One of the basic ironies brought out by SOT is that all in life is imperfect…for, it's 'living' & changing.We never get beyond the 'idea' of perfection.

  20. Except Aalia,no one's life changed because of the organs they got. The life of rest of the two changed because of the process which they went through because of these transplants. Neeraj Kabi became less rigid and arrogant just prior to the transplant.The lever he had to get had nothing to do with it. And Sohum came to the corrupt medical world half because of his transplant and half because her grandmother was there too. So the pieces of the body does not change one's identity.Man is not a ship.Man's identity does not get determined by heart and lever and eyes. In Alia's case too,even if someone else would have donated her,she would not have changed to some other identity.

    I think the movie is reverse of theseus paradox.Instead of the ship getting its parts from different other ships and losing its identity,here a ship gives all its parts to different other ships.And is that ship or in this case a person still the same after getting an organ from the donor.We don't know,because in the movie it is not shown.But that last scene definitely rose a question.Was that man still alive because all of his life giving organs were functioning in different bodies? The answer need not be in positive.

  21. Raghavendra Mk Regarding "e)", I think that scene had a meaning.Maitreya was walking fast and was far ahead of all.Rest were feeling tired and uneasy.One of them leaves the road and takes a shortcut to a field nearby.Maitreya looks at him and wonders why are they doing so.This is what happens to a man who is ideal when he looks at the non-ideal world. He wonders why others are doing so. For once i got reminded of mahatma gandhi in that scene. Walking faster than everyone else and in life too doing what others cant dare to do.

  22. I think you will have to agree on what persons here are saying about maitreya condemning his fast to death. I thought differently earlier…that he felt the weakness and fear of death and so he agreed.But that bacteria logic works for HIM. One has to think like him. The boy was convinced by his senior in train that "Instead of thinking as all human beings being equal, think about all beings being equal." But Maitreya still did not believe in the equality of microscopic organisms.Charvaka made him believe that bacteria too are equal to any other macroscopic beings. Anyhow, maitreya's logic itself was flawed.In the garden he was forbidding the gardener to pluck the fruits.But the vegetables that he would eat by begging from houses, that too were plucked.And that gives pain to plants.

  23. Siddharth Bose says:

    Wow, man. I don't think I've read something as ridiculous, mundane and shallow as this in a long time.

    Oh, and also, flawed (logically and otherwise).

  24. Since you are questioning my credentials to write a film review, here is my CV:
    MK Raghavendra received the National Award (the Swarna Kamal) for best film critic in the year 1997. He was awarded a two-year Homi Bhabha Fellowship in 2000-01 to research into Indian popular film narrative as well as a Goethe Insitut Fellowship in 2000 to study post-war German cinema. He has authored two volumes of academic film criticism – Seduced by the Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema (Oxford, 2008) and Bipolar Identity: Region, Nation and the Kannada Language Film (Oxford, 2011) and 50 Indian Film Classics (2009). His academic essays on Indian cinema find a place in Indian and international anthologies. 50 Indian Film Classics and Seduced by the Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema have been named as among the best books on cinema from around the world by FIPRESCI, The International Federation of Film Critics. His book Directors Cut: 50 Major Filmmakers of the Modern Era (Collins) was published in June 2013 by HarperCollins.

  25. Since you are questioning my credentials to write a film review, here is my CV:
    MK Raghavendra received the National Award (the Swarna Kamal) for best film critic in the year 1997. He was awarded a two-year Homi Bhabha Fellowship in 2000-01 to research into Indian popular film narrative as well as a Goethe Insitut Fellowship in 2000 to study post-war German cinema. He has authored two volumes of academic film criticism – Seduced by the Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema (Oxford, 2008) and Bipolar Identity: Region, Nation and the Kannada Language Film (Oxford, 2011) and 50 Indian Film Classics (2009). His academic essays on Indian cinema find a place in Indian and international anthologies. 50 Indian Film Classics and Seduced by the Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema have been named as among the best books on cinema from around the world by FIPRESCI, The International Federation of Film Critics. His book Directors Cut: 50 Major Filmmakers of the Modern Era (Collins) was published in June 2013 by HarperCollins.

  26. Apart from abuse, you are also uestioning my credentials as a film critic. Here is my CV:

    MK Raghavendra received the National Award (the Swarna Kamal) for best film critic in the year 1997. He was awarded a two-year Homi Bhabha Fellowship in 2000-01 to research into Indian popular film narrative as well as a Goethe Insitut Fellowship in 2000 to study post-war German cinema. He has authored two volumes of academic film criticism – Seduced by the Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema (Oxford, 2008) and Bipolar Identity: Region, Nation and the Kannada Language Film (Oxford, 2011) and 50 Indian Film Classics (2009). His academic essays on Indian cinema find a place in Indian and international anthologies. 50 Indian Film Classics and Seduced by the Familiar: Narration and Meaning in Indian Popular Cinema have been named as among the best books on cinema from around the world by FIPRESCI, The International Federation of Film Critics. His book Directors Cut: 50 Major Filmmakers of the Modern Era (Collins) was published in June 2013 by HarperCollins.

  27. Raghunath Joshi's response is generally incoherent and I believe that Harikrishna Katragadda (below) makes the sames points more cogently. I have replied to him separately and you may please read my replies there.

  28. Can you please elaborate on these assertions?

  29. Ram Aditya Gullapalli says:

    Serious art must acknowledge the ugly. Yes I agree to that but can't serious art "feel good"? Would that make Ship of Theseus less worthy of being an art film?

  30. We perceive what we want to perceive in anything we perceive-this film being no exception. It's the vague feel of absolute perfection in the seeming imperfections that fascinated me most.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Can somebody tell Rina Sen that this is not a review based on logic and philosophy as she is claiming it to be ? Mr.Raghavendra has reviewed this film solely in *filmic* terms.The trouble is that the admirers of this film are feeling hurt like children with broken toys as they feel as if somebody has damaged their personal toy.

  32. Anonymous says:

    It it high time that Mr.Bikas Mishra should intervene as editor and delete all insulting comments directed at Mr.Raghavendra.

  33. Ravi S Alok says:

    Here comes a long and illustrious resume :) and i'll admit that its impressive though I never questioned your credentials to write a film review, those who hired you for this job must have looked into it. I questioned your intent & your sensibility of cinema to review film such as SOT or Amour !!
    The reason is your unfamiliarity with the element of ambiguity associated with such films with their interpretation different for different people and hence making them an evolved piece of art. AMOUR, another film you rejected in your previous review calling it Banality of the ‘Best’, reiterates the same.
    I'll give you an example, in your critique of SOT for the first story you wrote “The first story is about a blind photographer named Aliya Kamal (Aida El-Kashef) who takes pictures aided by her hearing. She is wildly successful until she gets a cornea transplant and regains her eyesight. After this happens, however, her pictures begin to lose their unique quality and Aliya compares this to a centipede in a fable which, when it tries to understand how it moves, loses its capacity for movement. There isn’t much more to say about the story but it is evident that the director is wrestling with ideas pertaining to art and beauty. The message is apparently that we produce art without quite understanding the process; if we understood it, we might stop producing art.”
    Now, that is how you construed the story and I’m sure others would have deciphered it differently but the story is primarily about the conflict of a blind photographer who after her eye operation with her sight back ironically struggles with her photography losing its unique quality. Deeming her ability to now see responsible for her misfortune she begins to click her pictures blindfolded and remains indifferent towards her ability to see until she visits a beautiful terrain. The beauty of the landscape mesmerizes her, enabling her to appreciate her gift of vision!! It changes something about her though she remains the same person and hence the paradox of ‘Ship of Theseus' applies :)

  34. Anonymous says:

    Can somebody tell this Prasad Sumbramaniam chap that Mr.Raghavendra showed his magnanimity by not replying to his insults ?

  35. Anonymous says:

    Can somebody tell Siddarth Bose to convert his assertions into arguments ? If he doesn't do that then nobody would bother to care for his post.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Ship of Thesus is just a collage of three disparate stories.It is not a serious art as its admirers are claiming it to be.It is just a "Rowdy Rathore" of Indian feel good films.

  37. Kunal Vohra says:

    All art is what you make of it, isn’t it? Because, unless you have a direct line with the artist or film-maker and can seek clarifications and get confirmations, you aren’t always going to know exactly what s/he wants to say. What we get out of it is our interpretation of what is being conveyed. And, our interpretation depends on just too many variables for us to always reach a consensus about it. So, to assume to know to a certainty what a particularly beautiful or striking shot means and to be dismissive of any other opinion that questions it is ridiculous. I think it's extremely unfair how some people are targetting the reviewer for having an opinion. It's really unfortunate that we seem to be losing the ability to respect the other person's right to have a different perspective.

    Without a doubt the film is beautifully shot and, besides the obvious standout shots, some of which are stunningly good, I also liked very much how a lot of the frames have been composed. They suggest a fresh perspective and a completely different way of looking at shots and how frames can be composed. And, yet, after the film, I found myself asking the same question about the relevance of some shots, other than the fact that, of course, some of them were beautiful.

    Aaliya’s story reminded me very much of the Majid Majeedi film Beed-e-Majnoon (The Weeping Willow) , in which a professor, who’s been blind for most of his life, suddenly gets his sight back after an operation. Like him, a part of Aaliya’s problem, I think, is her inability to adjust to this new faculty and how it alters how she relates to her art/craft. Also, until that point, she has relied so much on the camera to look at the world that, when she finally gets the gift of sight, she is unable to ‘see’. And, it’s only when she puts away the camera that, I thought, she’s able to see. The second story is probably the most compelling of the three and it’s quite fascinating how it ends, with what I can only describe as Maitreya’s abject surrender. He gives in because he’s not ready to die yet. To me, this suggests that this ship has changed even before it has had a part replaced. So, although I can’t be absolutely certain about this until I’ve had an organ replaced but I think I agree with the reviewer that being the recipient of a new organ, in itself, cannot mean the very identity of a person has changed. Because we are more than our body parts. Because we are more about spirit. We are shaped more by our circumstances and by our experiences. And, if something can change the very core of who and what we are, it’s our circumstances and our experiences. What changes Maitreya is not the liver transplant but his illness and the near-death experience. I disagree with the reviewer about his opinion of the third story and won’t be so dismissive of it. While it may not be as strong as the other two, it’s built on a good premise. To me it seemed to be about the human need for validation, which we sometimes seek within ourselves. Yes, it does seem a little long drawn out but I can live with it.

    I guess I agree that the analogy with the parts of a ship may not entirely hold but I really liked the film, as much for what it is able to do as for what it can open the doors to.

  38. Siddharth Bose says:

    cpowerccc

    1. Art is not guided or moulded by judgment (in this case, merely appraisal); it is guided by faith and conviction.

    2. In Matreya's storyline, he goes against his spiritual beliefs, principles, ideals to save his life – that does not depict the unreasonableness of his faith, it depicts the realm between identity and community and the breaking point of extropianism. All in all, a dilemma – an IDENTITY crisis.

    Thus, Ship of Theseus. This blogger clearly doesn't know shit.

    and I hope this satisfies your inquiries as well.

  39. Pankaj Butalia says:

    I've not seen the film but feel the need to intervene.

    First of all I don't see why a reviewer has to say things which correspond to what the reader/viewer feels – because – as we know – as many viewers will feel one way as the other – and as many reviewers will make one kind of comment or the other. But why do some viewers get so vicious? Why do they get abusive? There is arrogance in this because it assumes there's only one perspective possible and that is theirs.

    I'm also surprised why Raghavendra fell into the trap of offering his 'bio-data'. If viewers question his credentials, the answer should lie in his capacity to see film / the film as seen in the review and not on the list of work he's done before. I feel reviewers should not start engaging in a to and fro with readers.

    Should one break down a film's 'philosophy' to its mechanics?
    Is A/art to be seen only through the mirror of the sublime and the mystical? These are issues to be discussed and debated. A good reviewer forces readers to engage with issues raised by the work with more seriousness than they had initially done. Whether this ends up re-enforcing their initial impressions or questioning them is another matter.

    To me, again without any prejudice to the film, which I haven't seen, this review is already a good review because other than a few vicious responses, it has got many people to articulate things in ways more coherent than they would have done in the absence of the review.

  40. The reason I've put my CV here liberally is that I want all these people to buy my books. They are all available in Flipkart

  41. Nayanmoni Baishya says:

    Recently, I've been going through all this tirade against SHIP OF THESEUS. Of course we all have our opinions. The very fact that this particular film has opened the long closed discussion table among cinephiles is a blessing in disguise. Those tables were earlier limited to the Kubricks, Nolans & Mallicks only. Pointing out flaws is only a personal point of view. Does not mean what you view as flaw can be taken as universal. If you've better ideas, why don't you take a deep plunge yourself. And the very fact that this film has been hailed by it's peers is a commendable thing. Critical analysis is only a personal point of view, and is far more removed from anyone who is deeply involved in the art of film-making. But still I'm happy that this film has atleast made us talk about philosophy. Good reviews or bad reviews, this film has done the job that it was supposed to. It's for us to see how far effect persists.

  42. Purnendu Singh says:

    Raghavendra Mk There is a lot of art depicting the beauty of life and the universe through the ages. Do you think that all that is not serious ? What makes you think that you can decide what art is serious and what is not ?

  43. Purnendu Singh says:

    cpowerccc Why are you looking for somebody to come and tell this to do that and so on? Do it yourself.

  44. Kunal Patel says:

    1.Feel good film – aren't most bollywood films feel good not trying to look too deep inside any thought that merits such attention…what was feel good about SOT- is it shown that the blind photographer or the stubborn monk or the stock broker break into a smile…there acceptances of defeat of their own beliefs is feel-good or free will?
    2. First story- Accidental Art- As pointed by many people above where is the accident in her art,,, its willful as well as serendipitious and her senses have been trained at it…she was seeing the world one braille frame a day and now she is finding it difficult to see it flickr @ 48 frames per second so if she decides to give it up its her choice and there is nothing wrong in it…maybe seeing mountains n the worlds natural beauty n not capturing them is more pleasin at the moment for her.
    3.The monk decision to leave his satyagraha or suicidal denail of drugs that can save his life while injure a few innocent rabbits doesn't need a dramatic exorcism of his beliefs. do we always feel that every shift of free will needs to be amplified n showed loudly? cant we sometimes see it from a distance n be just as enamored. Ain't the change of belief from a religious to a scientific atheist view point more cinematic than continuing with your own belief? does a character not have a free will to choose to live n discard his own beliefs and maybe form new ones.
    4.The last story I believe is the shift of perception from selfish economics to an acknowledgement that everything is not simply profit n loss as the mechanics of a emotionless stock market, a loss of kidney is sometimes worth a meal and a gain of kidney is sometimes worthy of a skip of conscience n overlookin the feelin of guilt.
    5.Identity is the very core philosophy and identity for humans is very much defined by their ego n free will. So if few parts change doesn't their will as well as philosophy change?
    6.How rude n cruel to say that the photography aided the lost direction. Its almost like saying the camera came to the rescue of steve mccurry otherwise what he sees n what we see in india is the same.

  45. Megha Ray says:

    after reading his review and several of his comments in the forum, i'm sure the writer hasn't heard of Robbie Wilde, a deaf DJ who creates music by compensating his loss of hearing with the senses of sight and touch..i'm curious if his work satisfies his definition of ART as he can't hear the music he creates but can certainly feel it :)

  46. Satyajit Meka says:

    All these comments and reviews drive me to go and see a picture…

  47. Ravi Iyer says:

    Raghavendra Mk But how do you infer what is realistic and what is "pretending" to be realistic. Maybe your reality is bleaker than mine.

  48. Rina Sen says:

    Hey,CHILL,all of you..&@ cpowerccc: pl dont get personal.That shows rancour & insecurity on YOUR part. As I said,IT'S JUST A FILM!@Raghavendra Mk: I didn't question your 'credentials' or your right to review a film.But just as you had issues with the film,I had issues with the terms on which you reviewed the film. Your CV(!),which,impressive as it is,doesn't in the least move me to agree with your review. Could we now agree to disagree & let it go,instead of building up a nasty unbecoming scrap?

  49. As an instance, the chances of survival after a kidney transplant or a liver transplant from an unrelated donor are small. Not acknowledging that is 'unrealistic'. This is like a Hollywood film in which one has only to get to a hospital to be saved. All of us know that in our 'real' milieu, going to a hospital is only the beginning of our troubles.

  50. I am not 'deciding' what is serious art. I am not simply giving my opinion through an assertion. I am giving arguments for logical weaknesses in the film. Here is one more which I have not commented upon in the review. Here is one of Charvaka’s questions to Maitreya: “As a monk you have taken a vow of celibacy. How, then, can you engage in this kind of intellectual masturbation?” This is dialogue which only an adolescent would write; still, Maitreya having no answer, it is apparently being passed off as valid ‘philosophical enquiry’.

  51. Sachin Chavan says:

    Those who insist on a concrete/unique purpose in every shot may find it a bit difficult to assimilate (like the youngster who quizzed his mother with us in the elevator down as well this reviewer here. To me, that insistence is like demanding a concrete explicit purpose behind every brush stroke in a painting. That's business. Art inspires! There is a facility for dealing with ambiguity, and evolving your own possibilities. The way each of the three stories ended, with an almost 2-3 mins shot, poetry-like. It left you with open-ended interpretations, in the context of your own life and identity. I drew mine. When I see the next time, I'd know how I have changed.

  52. Effectively communicated, rightly put, awesomely observed. BANG ON. RAGHU. JUST AWESOME

  53. Vardhaman Khedekar says:

    realization makes him switch sides.. Now that is a thing!

  54. Anonymous says:

    Raghavendra Mk, you clearly weren't paying attention. Charvaka is a young chap who, out of frustration, like any other kid, says something as abrasive as that. He knows very well that he can afford to say something like that to Maitreya because of the kind of relationship they share. Though Maitreya's other disciples in the monastery wouldn't dare talk to him like this. And both Maitreya and Chawaka are aware of the carelessness of the comment, that is why Maitreya does 'acknowledge' it by a sheer smirk. He does not pass it off as a valid philosophical inquiry! Thats why the next time Charwaka comes all prepared with his logic in place.

    And honestly if this is the quality of your criticism then I really wonder who in his/her right mind would like to buy your books- something you have been trying hard to sell over here by posting your curriculum vitae to everyone. What is the logic anyway behind this weird marketing? Quite obnoxious, I must say.

  55. Chinmay Damlé says:

    Disappointed with the review. In fact the second story is a brilliant juxtaposition of Jain beliefs with Buddhism. The name Maitreya itself adds so much to the narrative.

  56. I don't if you have noticed but not once have I reacted to the personal insults/abuse/hostility except through impersonal argument. I don't know any of these people personally as I (presumably) don't know you. But the point is that everyone (like you) tries to distract me through offensive remarks when my only interest is the film. It is not that I cannot reply to your comments but since you are so hostile to begin with, you will only become more offensive if I respond.

  57. Let me reply to openid's question logically despite his/her rudeness. Now, dialogue in cinema comes at least in two categories. Either is is authorial discourse (presenting the questions/ views posed by the director) or character speech (the views of the character for which the director takes no responsibility). We need to be given details about the character for us to know that the words he speaks corresponds 'character speech' and not to authorial discourse. He/she needs to be given a 'personality'. In the first story in Anand Gandhi's film, there is not enough information given for us to interpret Charvaka's lines as 'character speech' and his name also suggests that he stands for 'argument' as an abstraction. The two viewpoints are not those of flesh and blood people but a philosophical argument carried out. It is in this context that some of the lines written, which are identifiable as 'authorial discourse' and not character speech, are juvenile.

  58. Varada Khaladkar says:

    Yes, actually as I think more, more do I feel that it is a 're-telling' the parable of Buddha.Only the 'garb' looks like Jain. It's simply brilliant….

  59. Teddy Foryou says:

    Can we disagree without being disagreeable please?

  60. Anonymous says:

    Astha Rawat,Ideally speaking Mr.Raghavendra could have felt and sensed some of your thoughts only if there were some sort of telepathy with you and him.However,more often such things are mere exceptions. Hence,they do not induce a film critic to write in the same manner as viewers.This is why Mr.Raghavendra's review is completely different from your thoughts.

  61. Anonymous says:

    At least somebody is applauding the *difference of opinion* otherwise there would only herd mentality would be displayed by cinéphiles.

  62. Anonymous says:

    Megha Ray-when one is talking about apples and oranges,it is expected that people talk about only these two fruits as it would not make much sense if during such a discussion people start to talk about cabbages and cauliflowers.Hence,your description of Robbie Wilde is highly out of sync with the issue discussed as one is discussing cinema and not music.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Ravi S Alok-There is no reasoning in your criticizing Mr.Raghavendra just because he has been critical of Amour and SOT.It is his job of being critical of films which he deems inefficient and weak in cinematographic terms.Lastly,it is only a film critic's prerogative what he likes and what he does not like.A film critic cannot pander to the viewers's tastes.

  64. Anonymous says:

    Nitesh Naik-Did you mean spoiler alerts in the review ?

  65. Anonymous says:

    The ideal thing would be to watch the film !!!!!

  66. Anonymous says:

    Nobody should fall into the trap of "Fallacy of Bandwagon Appeal" (Ad Populum-A claim that an idea should be accepted because a large number of people favor it or believe it to be true) PS: This applies to all those who state that SOT must be watched as it has been hailed by Kasyap,Rao,Benegal,Kapur,Johar and other big fishes of Bombay based Indian film industry.

  67. Anonymous says:

    Although there might be minor exceptions,today's *Internet savvy* generation in India is not in the habit of paying money to buy books in order to read them.Wikipedia is the major source of their knowledge.Hence,I'm afraid if this generation would spend 300 or 400 Rupees to purchase your books.It would rather spend that sum for a candlelight dinner or lunch (with all pun intended)

  68. Anonymous says:

    Dear Raghavendra Mk I, really advice you to watch the film carefully. I feel even if that point in the film you are not aware of the 'details of the character for you to know that the what he speaking is character speech or not, then I really rest my case. Contrarian view just for the sake of it is quite silly, is all I can say. Good luck with your book sales.

  69. Meet Modi says:

    Raghavendra Mk U are like the Pompous academician standing in the Queue right behind Woody Allen talking about Felini in the movie Annie hall…Who boasts of his credentials when Woody says u are not aware of Felinis work…..Showing off ur credentials without responding to the argument put forward by others was kind of petty…..and someone said comparing apples and oranges…..the story of a Blind photographer was not a figment of someoenes imagination….Its was the DOP Pankaj kumar who had come across such a photographer and suggested Gandhi if we could do something about this…..U have a right to ur opinion and we respect it….just do not agree with it….Please dont flash ur Id card

  70. Murali Subramonian says:

    there is no meaning in arguing with idots….in simple words…go f*** urself….

  71. Megha Ray says:

    cpowerccc, the example of 'Robbie Wilde' is given in context of several of reviewer's comments deeming what is ART and what isn't.
    Mr. Raghvendra MK in one of his responses has written – "Accident is certainly permissible in art but only provided one's senses are still in play to judge whether what one has produced can be considered 'art' in one's estimation. Photographs involve sight and visual beauty. what you are suggesting is that this sense of beauty was transferred to touch. She touched her photographs to find out whether they were beautiful. There is still the issue of reconciling what is beautiful to the eye with what is beautiful to touch. How does this happen since she began photography long after she went blind."

    In both the cases i,e in the case of Robbie Wilde & Aliya, the creator depends upon evolved functioning of other senses for his/her creation compensating the loss of the primary sense conducive to that medium. There are many other real life examples to collaborate this possibility… and ART is too vast a subject for the writer to go about defining it.
    Also, In reply to your other comment, i'm sure anyone sharing their comments do not mean any disrespect to Mr. Raghvendra MK. Its only a discussion and since he shared his views about the film, people are sharing theirs :)

  72. Astha Rawat says:

    Dear cpowerccc any reviewer is an audience first. I wrote to him with that shared relationship. Please spare me your insight on how reviews are written. For all I care, resume your anonymous rants.

  73. Tanmoy Ghosh says:

    One point is not clear (which means all other points are well received) – is a process of spontaneous/automatic creation of art something unthinkable? I haven't seen the film, hence don't know what the director's intention was about the first part, but an artist creating things uninhibitedly and then loosing her creative spirits when considerations like aesthetics, social relevence, critical theory etc begin to possess her – is this something implausible?
    I doubt whether one can produce worthwhile things in an unmediated way but weren't the Surrealists, the Dadaists used to profess something like that?

  74. The artist need not be aware of aesthetic theory but s/he can only produce 'art' consciously' and through the mediation of his/her own senses – those senses implicated in her/his art. He/she cannot rely on others to tell her that what s/he is producing is 'art'. It is not the mind we are talking about here but the senses.

  75. I am not denying that the images are interpretable but when interpreted in a loose way, they will mean a different thing to each person. It becomes like a Rorschach inkblot. For it to have philosophical (rather than mere pictorial) value, their impact must be stronger and more focused.

  76. I will respond only to your last remark – the notion of identity. The 'Ship of Theseus' involves identity. My point is that the transformation of an individual is perpetual. When we learn something new, when we change our political opinions, when we start disliking or liking a film instead of the opposite, we are being transformed. But how does this change our identities, which takes these transformations into account? If you recollect, in the parable, every part of the ship is replaced.

  77. Kiran Misro says:

    Sir,

    I totally agree with you ( Mr. M.K ji) unanimously. After watching "SOT", I felt the same and I totally laud your bold discerning thoughts on this. I agree with every word and I can add few more.The movie looked more like a enigma of misinterpretation and thoughts rather than a straight simple take of logical approach, trite fallacies or any other form of artistic submission.

    At some point I felt so uncomfortable to the thought of surrendering again to the same viral marketing trap, which soothingly made it through the word of mouth from the so called artistic moghuls( Big names) or to the commons who never ever will understand art or its expression in the true form.

    Please post free to comment on this….folks…your true comments will not change you by the way….

  78. As Raghunath Joshi has said “Are Aliya/Maitreya/Navin the same as they were before? No.”
    Ya that’s right film tells us that.
    And one more thing which he has mentioned.
    “Each of the three characters have undergone a fundamental change in their persona, the change was triggered entirely because of this transplant.”.
    This is again a correct observation.
    For time being we consider that the fundamental changes occurs in them are relativistic so we keep them out of discussion.
    But here is the question.
    Isn’t Ship of Theseus a paradox?
    If, Yes. Then, does filmmaker want to give an answer to it?
    Have he discuss it as a paradox?
    Why he is so desperate to make a conclusion?
    Because it’s not needed that every film has a conclusion.
    It’s my personal opinion that I would like to discuss it as a paradox and live it at an open end so my audience will make conclusion for themselves.

  79. There is no paradox. They have changed but their identities are still intact. The title of the film is inappropriate and pretentious because of this.

  80. Raghavendra Mk Your CV is quite impressive, I must say, Mr. Raghavendra. I'm sure you'll sell a lot of books as well. Good luck with that!
    Good to know that you appreciate logic, even though I couldn't see any formal credentials in philosophy of logic or philosophy of mind in your CV. Indeed, your central line of argument against the movie's artistic merit is its "flawed philosophy". But logic and philosophy comes naturally to men, doesn't it? Not like critical arts, which has to be nurtured and developed within a system of peer review and credentialing, which you have so diligently done!
    Anyway, I have some points of contention with some of the points you've made here, which are as follows:
    a) Beethoven was almost completely deaf by the age of 40, though he continued composing music right till his demise. You might want to check out some of his work from this period. Of course, all of these compositions were purely "accidental", but some of them are really good!
    b) You might want to read up on this little, insignificant phenomenon called synesthesia. Sometimes knowledge can make up for lack of imagination.
    c) One must be judged purely on the basis of the strength of his/her conviction towards his/her belief. The actual contents of this belief is insignificant and inconsequential, isn't it, Mr. Raghavendra? You must really admire Hitler, then, for sticking with his beliefs right till the very end.
    d) Well, if you have an existential crisis, Mr. Raghavendra, and you see your whole life till now as meaningless and rudderless, and then suddenly, if there is a moment of clarity, wherein you realize that life and reality is an empty canvas, and you can start afresh, with any colour you like, you might consider yourself a different person. Just a thought experiment! What do you think?
    e) Another thing you might want to check out and read up on – ancient Chinese Zen paintings. In these paintings, the artist would leave a void at an aesthetically and visually significant point. Why? I don't know. You're an art critic. You should know. Please do enlighten me if you have any explanation for this clearly futile practice. Although, I must say, they are pretty "striking".

  81. Gaurav Gupta says:

    I enjoyed the movie, and found the review confusing…
    I don't understand the meaning of the word art – however I also do not understand how the reviewer blithely states that a blind photographer cannot create art… I have read his arguments, and though I do not understand them 100 % – I do not agree with what he says.

    According to Anand Gandhi – he was inspired by a real life photographer for this story.
    "The 32 year old director states that he took inspiration from the celebrated Swedish photographer Evgen Bavcar's story who, inspite of being visually impaired, masters her art."
    Source
    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/ship-of-theseus-anand-gandhi-responds-to-plagiarism-charges/412291-8-66.html

    I would like to thank the Director for actually creating a Hindi movie that is sensible and generates so much discussion on philosophy, hope we have many more works to come by this and similar directors…
    I would also like to thank the reviewer to make me think again about all the points raised, even though I disagreed about many of these. Some of these points raised do make me understand how different people can have different perspectives about the same event…
    As said famously " I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend till death your right to say it".

    Finally, anybody has any comments on the last scene regarding the caves and the shimmering lights on the stones… do you think it meant something specific… looked a bit contrived to me?

  82. I loved the movie. And the movie should get a wider audience with college students.

  83. Jammy Kumar says:

    Mr. Raghavendra, herd mentality is when people follow something without any logical analysis on their own part. You must have been convinced that there is no such thing here at least by virtue of so many people forwarding their own reasons to diffuse your objections. You are taking yourself and your CV too seriously. Imagine how you would feel if Anand Gandhi were to forward his credentials just to support the infallibility of his vision as expressed in the movie. Movies cannot be holistic all the time nor they can be perfect so is the case with write-ups or articles. It was so easy to take-apart your own article for instance by people who I assume cannot boast of credentials like yours. A critic can sometimes get carried away by the excess of intelligent going waste and use it to find out superfluous problems with a certain work of art. But if most of the times his observations don't find harmony with that of the audiences, then he starts losing credibility irrespective of his credentials. My reality is that the movie engaged me throughout and I kept thinking about it hours after while my wife slept halfway through the movie. Mr. Raghavendra, I have learn the hard way to make peace with opposing and contradictory opinions everyday. As a writer with such honours, why you can't do it baffles me?

  84. The last scene is an allusion to another Greek paradox that of the prisoner in a cave. What the last sequence communicates is that the donor himself is watching the film through the recipients. Also, interestingly, the recipient of the heart is missing as he/she is "vulnerable." Another nice touch is the fact that the monk is now in layman clothes. The review made me think a little too, and even I disagreed with many parts of it.

  85. I am no film critic, though I appreciate the nuances of good cinema. There is certainly a lot that can be found wanting with the film. Just a couple of observations.

    The sequence of the monks walking is a recurrent motif, and has to do with the narration time and narrated time. It shows up in the scenes of the monk rising before sunrise to be able to walk and reach the court, in the scenes of the photographer walking, scouting and composing shots, and in the pursuit of the kidney seller. This aspect of time in a screenplay is something that you have referred to in your review of the Lunchbox, I think.

    During the monk's walking scene, there is a pertinent sequence of one of the younger monk choosing to take a shortcut and experiencing how rocky the path is. There is also the entire backdrop of the windfarm, with its ecological consequence of sound pollution and disruption of wildlife and bird flight patterns. Reading your book on 50 great directors now, and chanced upon this review.

  86. Avinash Vishwakarma …dont comment bluntly,,,,for comment also you need to hold credentials .your variety is a kind of fouth rate….

  87. Rina Sen dont comment bluntly,,,,for comment also you need to hold credentials .your variety is a kind of fouth rate….

  88. dont act like a foolish without reading…

  89. Raghavendra Mk firstly, I apologise for the abuse. However, I read your review again, you are entitled to your opinion. IMHO the film has a much deeper meaning than your little brain can think of. I am person who is thinks 99% of the people in this world are fools. If thats the case why would i care about your certifications and awards. it does not sell me anything. Awards actually indicate that you are a goat, sold on the society's viewpoint (not capable of thinking alone). Ok, again, to me the movie was very meaningful, 1. the exceptional stuff is the potrayal of 'failure of logic' a perfect logic/ philosophy always will fail once new perspectives/new viewpoints/paradigm shift appears within the individual self. 2. The blind photography, The potrayal may be flawed but what he was trying to tell us through it was awesome. There are things beyond our concious understanding and he made us ponder about that stuff. That is enough to make a great movie. He is not a philosopher/buddha to provide you with flawless logic, he is a moviemaker who blinds the flawed part and make you immerse in the experience of watching a movie. I dont know what kind of film critic you are without understand this basic concept.

  90. Sumier Phalake says:

    You have such an admirable CV in terms of film criticism. Surely you would know better than to expect absolute literalism? Did you expect that the storyline would parallel the Ship of Theseus paradox to the last word?

    The stories in my opinion attempt to ask questions that follow as a result of the Theseus paradox. Aliya struggles to accept her new found eyesight as part of her identity. She is clearly proud of the fact that she is a blind photographer, to the extent that she feels like she has lost something by becoming the mundane, a photographer with eyesight, like everyone else. Her acceptance of her newly granted vision marks the point where her new “part” transfers ownership and truly becomes hers.
    For the monk, his acceptance of moral ambiguity instead of moral and ethical perfection is the point of the story. His story isn’t as cut and dried as you put it. Charvaka’s character would never see him as lesser than the man he is, because he clearly looks up to him as a mentor. Maitreya’s journey is one of loss of ego and an acceptance of his treatment as part of his philosophy instead of being against it. Whether it was triggered by logical reasoning or delirium is unknown, but he does seem happy at the end, and his ability to live grants him the power to continue to fight for his cause.
    As for Navin, I am dumbstruck by how you find his story “less philosophical”. I don’t think his grandmother just wants him to be involved in social causes, she just wants him to live. In her opinion, her grandson’s blind devotion to the stock market and the pursuit of money at the expense of experience and personal connection will eventually leave him feeling shallow and lonely. Navin, through his failed quest proves that he does have a heart capable of empathy and genuine connection. One of my favorite lines in the movie is when he sits next to his grand mother, defeated that he couldn’t “win” and she says that this is usually as good as it gets. This compromise and moral ambiguity is at the movie’s core, and in total opposition of your assumption of how the movie is naive in its portrayal of traditional virtues. In fact, this story is the most closely aligned one to the Theseus paradox, since it deals with how both the donor and the recipient of the kidney have learned to live with the changes to their body and assimilated the new part as their own since both parties agree with the exchange. They haven’t lost their individual identities despite the transfer of a critical part. It also ties closely to another theme of the film espoused by Maitreya, that of permanence through the soul and transience of the body.

    Frankly, I find your review reductive, and your expectation that a reflection of reality must be depressingly dark and cynical tired and boring.

  91. mk raghavendra says:

    I’m sorry but I have forgotten the film.

  92. Gaurav Chavan says:

    I read almost 75% of the text present here. And I am completely agree with Mr. Raghvendra. It is amusing to see so many people trying to oppose someone else’s opinion forgetting their’s too is a subjective opinion itself. I also read through the gentleman who threw abuses at the Mr. Raghvendra’s opinion which simply shows imbecility. I appreciate the author’s patience to reply without an ounce of retaliation. Each of his reply is justified (to me) and it would be appropriate if the readers respect one’s opinion in a civilised and cultivated way.

  93. MK Raghavendra says:

    Thank you.

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