Ship of Theseus

wogma rating: Owner's Pride! (?)

quick review:

Anand Gandhi’s debut feature Ship of Theseus is a thought-provoking, emotionally and intellectually moving cinematic experience, one that Indian cinema can be proud of. For those who believe that they have the right to firmly hold on to their brains while experiencing movie-magic, Ship of Theseus won’t let you down. It talks about universal themes like the meaning of existence, and it does so without resorting to indulgence or pseudo-intellectualism. All I can really say about it is ask of it, and you shall receive.

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Director: Anand Gandhi
Running time: 140 minutes
Categories: Festival Diary, MAMI 2012
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Ship of Theseus (English, Hindi) - Preview

This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.

There are indie films and there are indie films. And then there is writer-director Anand Gandhi’s Ship of Theseus. Perhaps the singularly most impressive independent film to come out of India, Ship of Theseus is a sweeping philosophical, intellectual and emotional experience that demands the audiences’ involvement from the very outset and in return rewards them with questions, answers and everything in between.

The film traces three separate stories - three threads of life, ideology, spirituality and thought – into journeys that shake up the very basis of their characters’ separate existences. A female photographer whose talent and fame stem from a very unique circumstance – a physical disability that few would be able to overcome in such a positive manner; a monk whose ideological beliefs – that of non-violence and animal rights – face a stern test of faith; a young stockbroker whose notions of morality begin to spiral inwards as he unwittingly gets drawn into an illegal kidney trade racket.

Anand Gandhi makes us dwell in these characters’ minds and inhabit their worlds, makes us get to know their worldview intricately and, most importantly, he makes us a part of the journey that these characters have to undertake. And these journeys don’t have a definite end – you just live with the characters long enough to know that, for better or for worse, their experiences have changed them.

Another thing that fascinated me about the film at a far more personal level was how the entire film breathes Mumbai. The stories themselves could have been set in any city in the world – they are universal. But - and I am only speculating here - it appears that Anand Gandhi shares a bond with the city of Mumbai that reflects in how it is just always present, gently undulating under the surface of the film.

What helps the film immensely is the cast. Though they are largely unknown faces in Indian cinema, each of them is convincing. Aida El-Kashef, Neeraj Kabi and Sohum Shah play the three main characters mentioned earlier. Each of them is so convincing in their roles that it often doesn’t seem like they are playing characters at all. Their presence and spontaneity play in a large role in drawing the audience’s involvement into the film. Also a host of charming supporting characters that are wonderfully performed are like icing on the cake.

While the film can clearly hold its own at the international stage in terms of thought, what makes it even more special is that even technically, one doesn’t feel that the film can’t compete internationally. Pankaj Kumar’s cinematography needs to be lauded for that. Each of the stories has its own visual language specific to the character and his or her environment, and yet they merge beautifully in the larger context of the film. Yes, I did feel that the film could easily have had a crisper cut. There is an excess of visuals that makes the film a tad too long. Personally, I would perhaps have shaved off a good 10 – 15 minutes of the film to make it tauter.

Perhaps the best thing about Ship of Theseus is that it has introduced Anand Gandhi to the world. Clearly, he is a man who thinks – a rare breed in Indian cinema. As many brain-dead people and films we come across, there are an equal number of pseudo-intellectual cinephiles with an unfounded conviction in what they believe is good cinema. It takes a passionate, philosophical thinker to understand that rules - and how to break them - are decided by human beings. Right and wrong are constructs of the human mind. Morality and justice always have two sides to it, just like the inseparable duality of life and death.

Gandhi talks about all these themes in his film, hopefully the first of many more to come. Hopefully, it will also inspire and spawn the rise of more independent, thinking filmmakers. Just for this hope that he has instilled into us, with the arrival of Ship of Theseus, we as lovers of cinema must rejoice.

This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.

29 reviewers(?) - 26 yays 3 so-so 0 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...This is probably the most important Indian film in the new millennium, which can rightly be tagged as the "Movie To See Before You Die" in the literal sense... full review

Thumbs up, by Katherine Matthews, Bolly Spice : ...This is an incredibly ambitious film, a film that demands that its viewers remain present and thoughtful at all times.... full review

Thumbs up, by Reza Noorani, Bollywood Life : ...Ship of Theseus plays out like a breath of fresh air that confirms that intelligent and meaningful cinema does exist in India.... full review

Thumbs up, by Khalid Mohamed, Deccan Chronicle : ...The project coming from Anand Gandhi, a playwright who once wrote for several episodes of the soap operas Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahani Ghar Ghar Kii, functions like a jazz melody -- as a place to take off and a place eventually to come home to. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Tushar Joshi, DNA : ...soaks you in its fabric... full review

Thumbs up, by Mihir Fadnavis, FirstPost : ...the work of a visionary... full review

Thumbs up, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...The stories are narrated without affectation or artifice -both traditional Bollywood ploys.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nupur Barua, fullhyd.com : ...Cinematography is the main hero here, capturing the city of Mumbai like it has never been seen before. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...All three characters, Aida, Neeraj and Sohum are first rate. The dialogues are witty and forward-thinking and the use of camera, more documentary than larger-than-life. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sarit Ray, Hindustan Times : ...Ship Of Theseus, no doubt, an intellectual exercise, the sort festival films often indulge in. Yet, the narrative is lucid, and the stories are simple and deeply moving.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...It stimulates the brain - the one organ popular Hindi cinema ignores... full review

Thumbs up, by Swati Deogire, In.com : ...We wouldn't wait a second longer to book advance tickets for ‘Ship Of Theseus’. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...the most thought-provoking film... full review

Thumbs up, by Mohar Basu, koimoi : ...An evocative film with myriad dichotomies that is wrapped and served to you with the charisma of Mumbai.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ... a powerful vehicle for philosophical ideas... full review

Thumbs up, by Shubha Shetty-Saha, MiD DAY : ...a spiritual and uplifting experience ... full review

Thumbs up, by Aakash Barvalia, MoviezADDA : ...A Simple Creative Ship!... full review

Thumbs up, by Karan Anshuman, Mumbai Mirror : ... it marks a watershed moment for Indian indie cinema. Ship Of Theseus' great victory is that it got made at all.... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ... an extraordinary achievement.... full review

Thumbs up, by Namrata Joshi, Outlook India : ...reaches out to the heart as well as the mind.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...a sign of evolution in filmmaking... full review

Thumbs up, by Aseem Chhabra, Rediff : ...the film cinephiles have been waiting for... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...Give this film your patience, your attention, and you will be richly rewarded.... full review

Thumbs up, by Parvathi Nayar, The Hindu : ...Get on board this ship... full review

Thumbs up, by The ThirdMan, Upper Stall : ...the finest Indian film I have seen this year, and I really doubt whether any other film might come close... full review

Thumbs up, by Resham Sengar, ZEENEWS.COM : ...An intellectually stimulating work of cinema art ... full review

So-So, by Mansha Rastogi, Now Running.com : ...Ship Of Theseus is definitely a stimulating affair but not without its flaws. ... full review

So-So, Star Blockbuster : ...But cinema in India is still entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. And this one leaves you all at sea.... full review

So-So, by Madhureeta Mukherjee, Times of India : ...watch this if you are ready for some soul-searching that ends with an intellectual orgasm.... full review

94 tweeters(?) - 90 yays 3 so-so 1 nays

zenmotherhood: Ship of Theseus is so beautiful. Please see it.

Zainab_k22: Ship Of Theseus by @recyclewala is a must watch. What a beautiful film. So inspiring. @SOTfilm

Weirdly_Sane: Watch Ship of Theseus everyone. Its worth the money , worth your time . Just watch it.

vijaypandey: Enjoyed Ship of Theseus with @tarequelaskar and @jaiz30. Great film. It's a must watch

viewsreviews: Ship of Theseus takes bollywood to another level, thanks to Anand Gandhi, Kiran Rao and the crew. Will bollywood remain the same?

vamsee: Watched "Ship of Theseus". What a fantastic cinematic achievement. Absolute marvel of a movie. Anand Gandhi, take a bow.

uditkulshrestha: Ship of Theseus. Brilliance!

Trollacharya: Ship of theseus was pretty meh.

TheTweetThumb: Ship of Theseus is a movie you watch on a Saturday and then take immense joy in having endless discussions about it over breakfast on Sunday

thenksokbye: Ship of Theseus has been watched. What a fucking brilliant movie.

TheAdityaKumar: 'Ship of theseus' is such a gem of film...leaves u speechless!! Go n watch.

ThatITdude: Just saw Ship of Theseus. Feeling sophisticated now.

tetisheri: Oh my god ship of Theseus. I am glad I caught it. :) My favourite story is the monk's.

TedDas2: Sometimes i get confused thinking that @sotfilm ship of theseus is a documentary film! I mean it looks 200% freaking damn REAL! #OSCARentry

SwarupMondal: You Should Not Miss "Ship Of Theseus" If You Really Are A Movie Lover. This Film is Beyond Ratings.

sushantJha: Excellent Movie ( Ship of Theseus ) & that too after a long long time ..Kudos to Anand Gandhi.

SunnyParampil: 'Ship of Theseus' - probably one of those rare films where you don't mind giving a 5/5 rating

sumofzeroes: Absolutely loved ship of theseus.. It's a world class movie. Stunning performances

stonedchimera: 'Ship of Theseus' is one of those once in a lifetime films, hitting you raw, hitting you close. Find it somehow, & watch it.

Ssushhant: 'Ship of Theseus' is the Best work done by any Gandhi post Independence. #fb

sourcasm: Ship of Theseus is a brilliant movie about change of identity and perception.

Soniya__Singh: Ship Of Theseus ko saare awards de do pls :)))))

Solemn_Travesty: Have to say haven't seen an intellectually stimulating movie like Ship of theseus in my life. First time happy about a Gandhi since Mahatma.

silencedsinger: The success of any movie lies in its ability to stay with the audience even after it ends. Ship of Theseus does just that and much more.

ShridharR: LOVED Ship of Theseus. Haunting, thought-provoking, immensely moving. Wonderful to see a full house for a Monday afternoon show. Pls do see.

shaileshkapoor: Ship Of Theseus has been watched. Awe is the only comprehensible response at the moment. More when I recover from being awestruck.

saudaminid: I am at a loss for words. Ship of Theseus (@Sotfilm) is a masterpiece.

sashiwapang: I don't know if with this film the Indian indie scene has finally come of age as critics claim, but Ship of Theseus is a very well made film

Sappy007: Ship Of Theseus - can't tell whether the whole is greater than the sum of its parts or sum of its parts are greater than the whole! Fabulous

sandymridul: National award.Ship of Theseus.

sampadacharya: A bloody Monday would even seem beautiful,if you are still reeling from the hangover of Ship of Theseus that you watched yday. Amen. :-)

RuchiraC: #Ship of Theseus is a movie that fills you up and empties you at the same time. Indian cinema takes a big leap with this. Go see it NOW!

Ronak_Kamat: I think films like Ship of Theseus come once in a lifetime. They are so intellectually superior that they make you look inferior.

richa_khurana: Ship Of Theseus..Whatttt a movieeee!!!..Some movies leave u speechless n its one of them.. Must watch!!..NOT meant for Masala lovers..

rhetonik: Ship of Theseus. Brilliant would probably be an understatement!

RanjonGhoshal: Ship of Theseus. This is it!! This is among the best 3 movies I have seen in my life. It isn't like anything you... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5xt0cKasDw

ramalekshman: Some movies will travel with us after coming out from the theatre. "Ship of Theseus" is one of my fellow traveller.

rakshitshetty: A small break from work just before the shoot begins and refueled with good inspiration. 'Ship of Theseus', a must watch :-)

priteshpathak: Just saw one of the finest movies ever made. Next few weeks my part-time job is to convince people to go and watch The Ship of Theseus. #Fb

Prantik_M: 'Ship of Theseus' - what a bedazzling film. Touched the intellect & perceptions at the core, very very stimulating for the mind. @RahulBose1

pranayvinod: Saw 'Ship of Theseus' Good cinematography, direction, acting. Slo and intellectually taxing.

PoojaChuriwala: Ship of Theseus is a beautiful film. A definite must watch!

PMakhijani: The ship of Theseus makes u re-think on life...

oyeNimsi: Ship of Theseus Cinematic Excellence. 90% f ppl i knw won lyk it, glad i belong 2 remaining 10%, Thx @ankash1009 4 1000+ retweets, @SOTfilm

OstrichhFeather: Watched "Ship of theseus" ... In cobweb of thoughts now.. hmmmmm...Thanks to Anand Gandhi , Kiran Rao n others...

ofmywakinglife: If there's one movie you watch this week, let it be Ship of Theseus.

niharrajhans: Ship of Theseus... its not just a movie its a phenomenon... certainly the best 2.5 hours of my life...

nickalvares: Ship Of Theseus a movie definitely worth a second watch. In fact it requires a second screening. Really good movie.

nehmodi: Anand Gandhi's SHIP OF THESEUS is undoubtedly a cinematic masterpiece...emotionally intelligent and geniusely crafted.....a MUST watch...

nappadori: Just saw the ship of Theseus ! That a fabulous film ! Indian cinema has come a long way !! Hats off !

N4COOL: President of the British Federation of Film Societies Derek Malcolm chose Ship of Theseus as the film that changed his life @SOTfilm fact

MukeshKumaravel: One of the productive weekends in recent times. Every movie cant please you with its Bullet train speed. Don't miss Ship Of Theseus & Maryan

mudramehta: Ship of Theseus really, really, really makes you stop and think.

Mohanalmal: ‘Ship of Theseus’- The film is a must-watch, not just for its ‘intellectual’ content but the relevance of its subject http://twitter.com/Mohanalmal/status/358662982663806978/photo/1

Mogambo_: Ship of theseus !! WoW (@sotfilm) one of finest movie of recent time, Bravo !! Good work.

mihirjayaraman: 'Ship of Theseus' - wonderful and moving independent cinema. #mustwatchflicks

mayurmantri: Go and watch Ship of Theseus. It is an amazing work !

madhusudan1908: This week's Friday release 'Ship of Theseus' is the best work by anyone named Gandhi since our independence.

Madaboutmoviez: Ship of Theseus -The Most Original Indian Indie Film http://www.madaboutmoviez.com/?p=26783

kunalmaithani: A #mustwatch film. Inspiring n leave u with a thought about the purpose n compassion! Amazing… ★ Ship Of Theseus — https://t.co/kO9TBgqaO9

KirtikaChandani: I loved The ship of theseus! What a beautiful story. Brilliant. Must watch b

karinasood: Ship Of Theseus is that rare film where Art meets Heart. Anand Gandhi puts the Art in Heart.

jamonista: Ship Of Theseus (@SOTfilm) is like kuber ka khazana for indian cinema, every human being should go and grab [email protected] @recyclewala

Hmmm_er: Ship of Theseus is possibly the best hindi film made in recent times. GO SEE IT. ALL OF YOU.

harish_chilkoti: Ship of Theseus is one of the finest Indian movie made in recent times.

guptasud: Ship of Theseus is a brilliant piece of cinema. Kudos to Anand Gandhi for coming up with such a gem.

golu290791: the metaphor and the message is one, the ambivalence of the ship of theseus stood still...unmoved..a perfect stable disequilibrium!

GayathriJeyaram: Ship Of Theseus, have to watch ASAP

FilmyNerd: Ship Of Theseus was a packed house at Inox, what an incredible piece of cinema. Emotionally Intelligent @SOTfilm

DisisHarsh: #Ship Of Theseus Is Not Only An Excellent Film But It Is The Achievement In Filmmaking India Never Had

damyantig: The Unsinkable Ship of Theseus | Newslaundry http://www.newslaundry.com/2013/07/the-unsinkable-ship-of-theseus/ An unusual #review for an unusual #movie.

chronicskeptic: You guys, Ship of Theseus is a fucking beautiful film.

chetancwarrier: I didn’t want Ship of Theseus to end. The philosophical depth and visual beauty put me in a mind space that... https://www.facebook.com/chetan.warrier/posts/10151575199006429

capri8ight: Spend your weekend outside #twitter, go watch "ship of Theseus " :) movie with a soul! Sheer brilliant script on screen!

BurgerrB: Hmm RT @moonsez: Go watch Ship of Theseus. Now.

bigbala: Hmm. I liked Ship Of Theseus but to call it a masterpiece or a classic is doing it a disservice.

Bhooshan: Not enough words to describe 'Ship of Theseus'. Most beautiful movie ever made. Bollywood, you have finally arrived.

bhavyakhanna: Ship of Theseus is an absolutely spectacular film, and the best I've seen in a very very long time.

bhartiyeh: Ship of Theseus-Engrossing, enthralling, deep and engaging movie. Good art movie, slow pace but loads of conviction.art meets heart @SOTfilm

bhak_sala: This week's Friday release 'Ship of Theseus' is the best work by anyone named Gandhi since our independence. - Vivek commented on fb

BarelyTrue: It comes together beautifully, like the most perfect union of fragments. Ship of Theseus, highly recommended.

balajiworld: watched Ship of Theseus. liked it.

bachikarkaria: Ship of Theseus exceeded expectations in such a quiet, real way. Was thwarted by traffic jam yday. That too is life.

aviraj: Don't have enough superlatives for Pankaj Kumar's cinematography and Gabor Erdelyi's sound design for Ship of Theseus. Fascinating.

arsharmaa: Js Watchd 'ship of theseus'..totally blown away by the idea..watch this with ur brain..unlike others

ankitwww: Ship Of Theseus shows us how a movie can be visually stunning and intelligent at the same time.

AkshathJ: There are experiences which are so beautiful that if you tweet about it, the experience becomes banal.Ship of Theseus is one such experience

abstractfears: Something about the movie Ship of Theseus is still lingering inside me

abeautifulmind7: Ship of theseus sounds like a thesis on Jesus to me

360one: Ship of Theseus - wow wow! Finest movie of the year... Made my Saturday! Check it out - really - real cinema!

nikhil_arora: Ship of Theseus is nothing special.

aswinsam: The #ShipOfTheseus rant. Liked parts of it. Did not love it. Perhaps I expected too much. http://thegreatthree.blogspot.in/2013/07/ship-of-theseus-review-rant.html

adityavnathan: Ship of Theseus thought could have been a lot shorter. Run time of 163 minutes is a bit too much for the story being narrated.

FalguniPadode: Ship of Theseus’ formidable reviews didn’t work for me. Shd’ve been a short docu-drama at best. Audience clapped, as the suffering ended?

4 readers - 4 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Want to Watch, by Rahul

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Arani Majumder : A movie that must be seen at least twice. Beautiful, enthralling and thought- provoking

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Mary Kom movie torrent download

Yay! Thumbs Up, by meeta : As absorbing as it gets.

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Vikas Talwar : 100

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Some use of colloquial expletives.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None (the one scene with male nudity that was in the film festival screening has been cut in the theatrical shows).
  • Concept: Three separate stories that explore philosophical themes.
  • General Look and Feel: The film feels very real and has some beautiful frames.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Direction:
Story:
Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Dialogues:
Screenplay:
Music Director:

Ship of Theseus - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Producer:
Director:
Cinematography:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
140 minutes
Reviewer:
Language:
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Comments (7)

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I so want to watch this movie. Everyone's tweeting about how awesome it is. Anurag Kashyap is not helping by continuously retweeting everyone's opinions about it. The short Prakrit song is beautiful. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMvNfytKRBQ

But I am stuck in a country where this is not going to release. So angry.

Me too. Will hopefully catch it tonight.

Manik

I really really want to watch this movie but can't...it's not even releasing at the place where i live ;(

Dekhi aapne?

@Manik that's sad.

@Rahul I am assuming that question is for me. Yes, saw it and liked it!

Vikas Talwar

Wao... what a great movie...great experience. I would say it is huge vital and engrossing. u indulge with stories while watching this film. and about the director Anand gandhi, I can say he is the next in the same wave line as India proud on Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta directors.
although...Im little upset with sensor board who cutt the one philosophical male nudidity scene.
A must must watch movie...

Good news for all cinelovers, especially the ones who've missed this gem of a movie. It's available, free for download officially from cineoo.com/sot

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