Not always does an Indian Drama film get so much applause as much as Ship of Theseus has garnered. The film is being hailed as ‘The hidden gem of the year’ in film festivals across the globe and indeed it is. Revolving around the story of three distinct individuals and cornering the paradox of the Ship of Theseus, the film is a perfect blend of philosophy and life. It delves on the problem of identity and change.
Here’s a look at the X-factors of the film:
The film’s story touches base with the paradox Ship of Theseus that has been argued over for centuries now. The ship on which Theseus and the youth of Athens returned was restored by replacing each of its part and hence saved it from decaying. Noteable philosophers like Socrates, Plato, Heraclitus, John Locke and Thomas Hobbes argue if the ship has all its parts replaced then does it remain the same ship on which Theseus came? Exploring the same question, the film shows the conflict of three minds: a blind photographer who gets an eye transplant, a stockbroker who gets a kidney transplant and a monk who refuses to budge from his principles even after he is diagnosed with liver cirrhosis.
Effortlessly, the film caters the conflict each individual faces. The blind photographer who has earned an expertise of clicking pictures on hearing sounds, finds it difficult to cope up with her newfound sense of visually taking the pictures. The stockbroker is on a quest to find the owner of the kidney that is pumping life in him. While the monk, who wishes to survive, yet doesn’t want to succumb to which goes against his principle of animal testing. The film addresses the idea of self, change and death which every human faces at some point of time in their life.
The director of the film, Anand Gandhi accepts that the aim of the film is not profit-making but it targets the act. The characters are bound by similarities and challenged by differences. Each character reflects the artistic, ethical, social and philosophical struggles of the director. The film’s trailer too vouches for the director’s words and has a very non-commercial approach.
The paradox is just one angle of philosophy that gains prominence in the film but there is more to it. While churning out the characters the director must have done a lot of study and drafted them in a way that they reflect the renowned Indian philosophers. The character of the monk has been inspired by a number of prominent philosophers and thinkers including Mahatma Gandhi and Satish Kumar. As also the film has the monk reciting a few chants which were written in Prakrit only for the film. Moreover, the characters like that of Charvaka and Mannu have been borrowed from the Indian School of Philosophy. The dialogues in the film have subtle traces of a philosophical meaning attached to it. And the transplant is a replication used as modern reincarnation.
The film has received accolades at various film festivals and from veteran filmmakers in Hollywood and Bollywood. The film’s story which was conceived on a hospital bed while looking after ailing grandparents has made the Director a star. The film which releases on 19 July is slated for release in 5 major cities of India.