wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?)
An indie effort, a 4-year long effort. An effort by a group of debutantes. And what we have is a good film which talks about obsessed beyond reason, a mania that sees no necessity for reason. Yes, it gets abstract, yet it stays very well within grasp as it points at and makes us think about our own obsessions.Read more
Do you remember the days from when you were younger, when you went crazy about something or the other? Trading cards, dolls, a cricketer, a film star, a fellow classmate? Through most of Kshay, Chhai's (Rasika Dugal) obsession with Goddess Laxmi made me think of her as that obsessed child. One who would claim, "you don't understand!" to anyone who tried to talk him out of that mania which he thought was perfectly valid. And slowly you see a few adults you know in Chhai's eyes. Their obsession might be different money, power or fame - but the similarity is stark. And while you realize it is counter-productive if not shallow, they don't give up. Kshay is a story that symbolizes exactly that.
The parallel doesn't stop there. The irony, that to please Goddess Laxmi, the goddess of wealth - even though she's not asking for it - requires money, never leaves you. Also, Kshay's fixation with people who are fixated for only one thing and none else is shown through the black and white palate, like no other color exists for them, like life has no other shades.
Though the same cannot be said about its charactes. Chhai, her husband Arvind, their neighbor Shruti - all are varying shades of gray. They are real, they reach out to you, and you worry for them however tiny their role be.
The villain is surely stark black, but then again he is representing the concretized brutality of the business world, this once the construction business. Arvind on the other hand is the perfect example of the guy chasing a dream, one who looks so tired from the chasing that he's willing to accept a compromise, were there someone making an offer.
Yet, there are some dots in the script that seem like they don't connect and I it is indeed perplexing. But, if you allow yourself to accept Chhai's fanaticism, you realize that in her world the connection makes perfect sense. Or greater still, her world requires no connection. But, even if she is visibly mentally disturbed, she is supposed to resemble us and our own obsession.
Therein lies my only but biggish problem with Kshay. It is not because Kshay can disengage you in the first few minutes with its non-standard and thus absurd sounds and overt attempt at being abstract. It is this niggling feeling that I have with most films that fall in this realm, why do they go that extra length to make the audience figure out the point of the film. I'm not saying you should spoon-feed us, but why do you have to go out of your way to make a simple objective look something more intellectual than it ultimately is. Isn't there a gray between the black and white?
The good news though is that once I accept that that is the route Kshay has taken, it is an engaging film. A film that certainly should be lauded as an indie project that saw light after four years of effort by a group of debutantes.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Pooja Rao, Bolly Spice : ...The movie has a tight agenda and hits home with it. There is no dilly-dallying, poking around in sub-plots. There’s no doing that sort of thing, but Karan instead chooses to narrate the haunting story of obsession with pokerfaced precision and bouts of sublime humor.... full review
Thumbs up, by Deepa Depsthalee, Film Impressions : ...If the narrative was even tighter, we may have actually been left with no room to think or breathe—making us one with Chhaya's neurosis. At 92 minutes, Kshay is perhaps 15 minutes too long, and that's its only drawback. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Shakti Shetty, IBN Live : ...Married to the black and white ambiance of the film is the gripping background score. The monochrome nature of Kshay gnaws deep into the sketches Rasika’s role often draws. And the sound effects keep you connected to the rising tension... full review
Thumbs up, by Karan Anshuman, Mumbai Mirror : ...Kshay is not for everyone and requires patience and some exposure to alternate cinema to appreciate. You’ve to wait for the characters to invite you into their world and their psyche and you cannot be munching popcorn through it. If you allow it, Kshay will indulge you in a way few films can... full review
Thumbs up, by Namrata Joshi, Outlook India : ...At times languid, at others corrosive, or terrifying, Kshay is about feel and texture. Quite simply the year’s most ingenious and exciting Hindi film so far... full review
Thumbs up, by Aseem Chabra, Rediff : ...Much of Kshay explores Chhaya's psychological decline, but the film is so engaging that it is hard to take one's eyes off the screen. There is a gun, blood, violence, disturbing imagery, a tragedy, but Kshay manages to stay above the standard thrillers... full review
So-So, Movie Talkies : ...Though the storyline is interesting and there is potential for making the movie a first class psychological thriller, the director seems to fumble trying to be too experimental at times.... full review
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Chhai (Rasika Dugal) wants to own a sculpture of Goddess Laxmi, but its beyond her means.