Resham SengarA blind but superb photographer, an ailing monk fighting for animal rights and a stock broker who has got a kidney transplant done are three characters whose stories, when woven in a single thread, can be referred to as ‘Ship of Theseus’. A debut vehicle of Anand Gandhi, this film is strictly for a niche audience for a fact that it has been kept clear from any usual Bollywood paraphernalia that defines commercial cinema.The premise of Gandhi’s film is the Theseus’s paradox, as first noted by the philosopher Plato, which argues that if the parts of an object (say a ship) are replaced one by one, would it still retain its original identity? And if the old parts of the same object are gathered to make a similar piece, then, which one deserves the right to be called the original object? The film debates over this paradox via the situations the three protagonists face in their lives, all of whom have got an organ transplanted.
The paradox gets a break here when the monk, after living with his principles with an unbearable pain, gives in to the need of getting a liver transplant done, thus giving up his old belief system for a new one. The third story shows Navin (Sohum Shah), a serious stock broker, being prodded by his maternal grandmother to connect with his compassionate side by contributing himself to societal well-being in some way or another. Life presents this opportunity before him when he finds out that the kidney that now is pumping life in his body is actually a stolen one. It turns out that his kidney has been stolen from a poor man called Shankar. But further investigation proves otherwise. Navin, guided by the desire to do well, dedicates himself to the cause of restoring Shankar’s kidney.The story sums up the premise when the three protagonists unite at the same place for an event organised for the deceased organ donor of the lead trio of the film.
To put it straight, ‘Ship of Theseus’ is a film that has no one meaning attached to it; several conclusions can be drawn from it. It preaches and debates highly via the monk’s tale. It does not attempt to give answer to the centuries old debate on the paradox. It rather aims to explore it even more in a storytelling manner.Anand Gandhi’s film should be strictly watched for three reasons: a) If you like challenging your intellect b) If you love art cinema c) If you want your eyes to absorb Pankaj Kumar’s spellbinding visuals.Rating: 3 star
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