Review - Siddharth The Prisoner: Lost and Found Freedom

wogma rating: Buy the DVD already (?)
quick review:

It's dark and it's abstract and it'll make you think. What is it that will liberate you from the trappings of life? An outstanding performance by Rajat Kapoor and some thoughtful yet simple background music keep you company in this extremely slow-paced film.

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Wogma Review

An abused flat, visually so filthy that you can sense the stink it must carry. But, it must also feel like abundant luxury for someone just out of prison. The word 'prison' brings dark images to the mind even without the heavy bluish-gray tinge given to it in Siddharth - The Prisoner. These first few, short and lingering sequences bring on the mood of melancholy that doesn't go away.

While soaking in these bits of Siddharth's (Rajat Kapoor's) newfound freedom you can't but help notice the background music. The keys of a typewriter tapping along to the notes of a piano. A string instrument joins later only waiting for the tinkering bell to make the rhythm complete. And the pause in the score while abrupt seems to be a part of the music itself. And soon the music becomes repetitive enough to blend with other elements and doesn't distract.

A lot of being able to notice these details has to do with the minimal dialogues. There are long spans of dialogue-free movement. And yet somehow, you are tempted to think that there's something wrong with Mohan's (Sachin Nayak) righteousness. You are not surprised with how Amin (Pradip Sagar) and Aseem (Pradeep Kabra) interact and react. You are very aware of Siddharth's dilemma. And Siddharth puts to rest all my doubts about Rajat Kapoor's versatility. I was completely blown away by the way his body conveyed his thoughts. The rest, though not outstanding, don't make you doubt their behavior.

Throughout the film, Hulla kept coming to mind. Maybe because the pace was similar and both had Rajat Kapoor. But somehow the brown hue and the desire to show the futility of our persistence and ambitions had the same taste and feel in both movies. Except in this one it worked for me. And yet there were phases in the movie where I could make a mental trip to the world outside that theater and come back. When that happens in a 90 minute film, it leaves a sense of incompleteness.

The only way to liberate yourself is to let go. Let go of your attachments and your worldly needs. Our desires and thus our existence are in vain. The perceived 'purpose of life' is only a big sham. There is no breaking free from this tone of failure and dejection that runs heavy through the movie. As there are no conclusions to such thoughts. Then why should the movie that deals with them offer closings? To me having no resolutions is better than having hurried ones, and contrived ones are worse.

If you're the kind of person who sees a person walking out of a prison and absolutely has to know why he was in, this one is not for you. If you like your movies nicely tied up in the end, skip it for your own sake. If you like it gift-wrapped and presented in your hands, Siddharth - The Prisoner will be a 'must skip' for you. Me? Well, I enjoy my abstractly beautiful and beautifully abstract films as much as the well-thought-out masala ones, so I'd have hated to miss it.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Goons beating up and killing each other.
  • Language: Abusive Hindi words used 3-4 times.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: Philosophy and psychology well beyond the grasping capacity of children, I'd think.
  • General Look and Feel: A gray, brown and generally dark tinge throughout the movie. No songs or dances to distract children or adults.

Siddharth The Prisoner - Movie Details

Siddharth The Prisoner - Trailer

Comments (5)

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Raj D:

Dear Meetu, Nice to see you write this review. I am extremely pleased. I think, this is one of the very few instance, that you have taken a movie that is not so popular and even though many well-known critics had given below-par ratings. Though there are obvious pot-holes in the script, the movie is well made, and you have done full justice of being independent objective critic. Cheers...

meetu:

@Raj Thank you! I am glad I could watch it. Many a time, a film doesn't release in my city or it releases in a theater too far away. I don't mind going to those theaters at inconvenient times but two things come in the way -
- safety, I am worried about being one of very few to watch the film: sometimes just one or two other people
- theaters often cancel the show because there aren't enough people to watch it. It is a waste of the time and money. :(

But yeah, I am glad I got to watch this one!

Raj:

Meetu, I am glad you replied. I thought you won't. I read wogma everyday since its inception, when it was just in a blog format (remember that?), and that time I used to stay in Amsterdam. Your blog was my source of good Indian movies review. In Amsterdam, I saw many international movies, and good ones too, and you are right - many a times, there is no audience. Except there, even if I am ALL ALONE in the theatre, they will run the show with one person. I think such thing is not possible in India. Looking forward to some good reviews of good movies by you.
Also it is nice to see that your perception of our relationship which many a times has gone up and down (love and hate) - and I find solace that we seem to have hit a bit of balance and I have mellowed down and you've been more acceptable to my comments. Sincerely Thankful..

meetu:

Oh come on. Two people, two ways of thinking. Top it up with perceptions. The differences will always be there. No big deal, right?

Raj D.:

Dear Meetu, right! Thanks for being so understanding...

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