Monday, July 29, 2013

Ship of Theseus – An intellectually stimulating ride

Those of you who know me well will also know that Bollywood and I are not the best of buddies. Well, we have had our differences. I have always complained that Bollywood does not provide enough movies that compel one to think; that compel one to use the grey matter. Bollywood, on the other hand, has tried to prove me wrong once a while. But the attempts have been lacking in number. Though, I should not entirely blame it on Bollywood. In the end, we usually get served with what we demand. Any art is partly a reflection of the society that the artist lives in. Anyways, that is a discussion for some other day. This post is not about the ideological differences that I have with Bollywood. Instead, this is about a movie that might usher many new precedents in an Industry that badly needs a change. This post is about ‘Ship of Theseus’, a movie that challenges you and honors you for being there.

So many distinguished industry veterans, movie critics, international reporters have given their thumps up to the movie that words such as astounding, brilliant, breathtaking seem over used. I dare not go the same path. For a change, I will keep it absolutely short and simple. SOT won’t give you a sensuous dancing scene or an action filled car chase or a hot item number or the usual stuff. It isn’t designed to do so. Simply put, SOT isn’t an everyday project. It will not insult your intelligence. On the contrary, it will reward you if you are open to thinking about the ideas that it presents. Though one will have to be patient. SOT takes its own sweet time but the experience is surely rewarding. The richness of ideas presented is the highlight of the movie. I am sure that if I watch it again I will pick something new. And to me, that is a sign of a classic. There is a lot that deserves a mention here but I am choosing not to do so for two different reasons. One, I would prefer the viewer to form its own opinion on this piece of art. And second, there are certain interesting developments that compel me to write about them.

SOT has triggered a new phenomenon that might interest a lot of tech-savvy people out there. The use of Social media and Internet for movie promotion is not a new concept. But with SOT, UTV seems to have experimented something new. Realizing early that SOT is not a movie for the masses, UTV has tossed the ball to the viewers. Initially, they released it only in six cities and started an online petition on their Facebook page to bring it to other cities. Viewers can choose to vote if they want SOT to be screened in their city. This is helping UTV target the cities for subsequent screenings. UTV hopes to rope in more cities in next two weeks as more and more movie viewers get to know it by word of mouth publicity. Intelligently enough, UTV has minimized the use of mass media such as TV trailers and hoardings for promotions. Not only this, twitter is being aggressively used to reach out to more and more people. For the first time, I have seen an official movie account retweeting most of the common tweets about the movie to connect with movie viewing community. According to SOT maker Anand Gandhi, Internet holds the key for future of movie promotion. The way movie makers are using internet to reach out to their target audience without investing heavy bucks is exemplary. In a way, this augurs well for low budget movies that are not made for the masses and are denied production because of concerns on their commercial viability. It still needs to be seen that how much SOT will be able to impact the future of artistic cinema in India. But surely enough, it is a welcome development.

Well, that would be my two cents on an interesting and important project coming out of Bollywood. If you are one of those folks who likes to try something different, feel free to go online and vote for SOT in your city on UTV Facebook page. An intellectually stimulating journey of SOT won’t disappoint you.

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