Film Education

“Ship Of Theseus” – A Film Musing by Oorvazi Irani

Ship of Thesus cover image copy

Being a film educationalist I am not comfortable making a claim that this film is path breaking as its not new cinematically and so much exciting has been happening ever since the birth of cinema  internationally and in India that these are not significant claims any longer but what is important for me is that its special. Its special for me personally as I am encouraged as an artist, as a filmmaker one more time, if a film is made and seen not for entertainment and passive viewing but for something deeper, meaningful and more engaging. It inspires the artist in me to believe in the medium of cinema as the art form of the future.

Here is an artist who is sensitive to the world and himself and has something to say, rather something to ask and his films are like a quest of that truth in which he involves the audience. I believe true art is about an exploration and is anchored in the real world. Are the questions new, or rather can they be new and can they go beyond self and existence if that is what we as humans are enveloped in. So its not about how radically new the questions are but how effectively they are posed and bought back to the forefront and what is the unique personal touch and experience of an artist that absorbs us in his work.

An important appeal of the film for me was the reality that it touched at many moments and the eye for detail right from the acting beats to the real life conversations to the symbolic little actions in the plot to the excellent sound design to the powerful poetic visuals that helped you enter into this parallel reality of the filmmaker’s world where as an audience we become one with his quest for identity and life itself. The reality like in great masters including Satyajit Ray is not just about reality as it sounds and looks but about how real it feels and therefore about the ‘truth’ in every moment. And this film tried to venture there, if it succeeded or not is up to each individual to decide and I or no one else is supposed to pass a judgment on that , is what I feel.

The audience is always free to make their own interpretations and experience the film the way they like but its also insightful to try and understand the world and concerns of the filmmaker and that is best known through his body of work. Even though this is Anand Gandhi’s debut feature his older short film and featurette hold some interesting similarities, concerns and style which put together tell a story, help you to understand “The Ship of Theseus” more deeply.  After seeing those films this seems like a beautiful evolution, as an artist, and I felt like I was traveling with a friend and each film took me one step ahead and I am eager to continue this journey where the worlds of the real merge and blur with the reel and a third reality is born.

I will leave you to comprehend for yourself the larger picture that these links of his earlier films tell you about him as an ‘auteur’ in theme and style and hopefully help you understand “Ship of Theseus” in a broader context of the artist and his art and gain a deeper understanding of his quest and make you engage in his art which is trying to reflect on our reality, is located in our world that we live in as human beings.

Let us not see a film to pass judgment but to experience another world, a reality that tries to bring us closer to our own world, our own reality.

“Right Here Right Now” 2003

30 Minutes ( uploaded in two parts) written and directed by Anand Gandhi.


“Continuum”  2006

40 minutes (uploaded in 5 parts)

(a featurette written and directed by Khushboo Ranka & Anand Gandhi)

Part One (Hunger)

Part Two (Trade and Love)

Part Three (Death)

Part Four (Enlightenment)

Part Five (Continuum)


“Ship Of Theseus” (2012) written and directed by Anand Gandhi

catch this film in theatres in Mumbai till 25th July 2013 (Thursday)


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Very well said (Itna kuch miltaa kahan se hai?)

Comment by Agastya Kapoor

a great post view analysis of the film but for me – the “word of mouth” factor played a counter-productive role
it was certainly a brave attempt in to remain distant from the usual Bollywood fare but i found it to be grossly overhyped!
…had i gone into the theatre with no baggage of publicity already floating in the media, i would taken it just as another film which also tried to be different!
…at the cost of sounding acerbic, for me – i found it to be a ‘smartly crafted’ organ donation public service film with some brilliant cinematic moments!
coming from a film school, i have seen numerous student films which are similar or superior but they do not see the light of day as there is no one to back it!
kudos to the director certainly for treading into an area which is not comfortable but the hype associated with it was a damper for me – did not get what i had expected!!

Comment by Amit Sen

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