We have all heard the proverb that too many cooks spoil the broth, but, over here, the 11 directors who take relay-like turns at directing one story deal with a broth that is already spoiled in a way — it is a film by the pseudos of the pseudos and by the pseudos!
Daring and experimental — yes.
Revolutionary? By Indian standards — maybe.
Confusing? Definitely for an audience accustomed to lucid storytelling of all kinds — good, bad and atrocious.
In the final analysis, simply something that will not connect at all with the non-pseudos who form 98 percent of the audiences for Hindi cinema. The film is also partly in Tamil and predominantly in English. And at 105 minutes, clearly more than a quarter of it is sleep-inducing!
K (Rajat Kapur), a filmmaker, meets a girl at a film festival and, during the night they spend together, ends up thinking about all his other women from adolescence (Anshuman Jha in his role), who have in some way or another, influenced his life. These episodes are handed over in a seamless way to 11 directors, most of whom do not have a single commercial success to their name.
Nevertheless, the story has no end as such — how could it when it has no beginning?! — yet includes all the international festival favorites — homosexuality, sodomy, violent murder, sexual escapades, intellectual lines, liberal use of the F word and more. Everything is in place. There is even a music director who has not seen life beyond R.D. Burman.
The technical side is full of jerky touches, amateurish hand-held camera movements, grainy camerawork and more — all of which will be claimed as intentional within the fake intellectual canvas of the film. The film even mocks itself with references to art movies, “Bollywood,” Hollywood et al, but sorry, that does not cut any ice. Also, the individual segment credits are listed only at the end, disallowing us from evaluating the individual directors and (unknown) actors.
Kapur is his patent self and Jha alright. Radhika Apte and Huma Qureshi are handicapped by poor roles, but Swara Bhaskar is good. From the other actresses, Pooja Ruparel shines.
On the credit side, the 11 directors do a splendid job, alongside editor Sreekar Prasad, who put the film together with Vijay Prabakaran, so that it DOES look like one homogenous, if weird, film.
Wish music makers in all current multi-composer films were equally seamless and loyal to the flow of their films!
Rating: *1/2 (Half for the unique concept of multiple directors)
Drishyam Pictures present “X: Past Is Present”
Produced by: Manish Mundra
Directed by: Abhinav Shiv Tiwari, Anu Menon, Hemant Gaba, Nalan Kumarasamy, Pratim D. Gupta, Q, Raja Sen, Rajshree Ojha, Sandeep Mohan, Sudhish Kamath and Suparn Verma
Written by: Abhinav Shiv Tiwari, Anu Menon, Hemant Gaba, Pratim D. Gupta, Q, Raja Sen, Rajshree Ojha, Sandeep Mohan, Sudhish Kamath, Suparn Verma and Thiagarajan Kumararaja
Music: Sudeep Swaroop
Starring: Rajat Kapoor, Anshuman Jha, Huma Qureshi, Swara Bhaskar, Radhika Apte, Aditi Chengappa, Bidita Bag, Gabriella Schmidt, Neha Mahajan, Parno Mitra, Pia Bajpai, Pooja Ruparel, Richa Shukla and Rii Sen