Eight lives touched by one magnanimous gesture. We will come to that later.
First, let us try and answer this question put to the viewers: ''Will a ship which is restored by replacing all and every of its wooden parts, remains the same ship?''
Tough question. The answers flow out as Anand Gandhi takes you on a ride, witnessing the lives of three people, all of who connect in the end. In retrospect, they are three different stories, having deeper introspection elements.
Yet, when the film finally ends, Gandhi binds the lives of these three to one whose actions changed their lives... for good. On the whole, too, he leaves you with food for thought. You marvel at the thought of binding one simple idea, yet it has been bifurcated so beautifully to drive home a point without shouting out loud.
Viewed part by part, it is intelligent. Viewed as a whole, it gives you the larger picture. This is subtle art. A film targeted for a niche audience who understand the intricacies of film-making and the efforts that go behind this art. CHECK OUT: SHIP OF THESEUS actress won't be promoting the film
Even an ordinary viewer, fed on Bollywood blockbusters, will go home satisfied, enlightened and educated. But for that, he will have to endure a slow first session.
Aaliya Kamal (Aida El-Kashef) is a visually impaired and celebrated photographer in the process of undergoing a cornea transplant that will restore her vision. She clicks at the behest of sound, not sight. She is always in conflict with her 'live-in' partner who she feels is patronizing her because of her handicap.
The surgery is a success and Aaliya's vision is restored. But is she happy with her new-found sight?
Maitreya (Neeraj Kabi), an erudite monk, is part of a petition to ban animal testing in India. When he is diagnosed with liver cirrhosis, his reluctance towards medication is questioned and he must now depend on the people he's been fighting against -- a path he refuses to take. He prefers to fast unto death. His view is simple; animals have been cruelly dealt with in making medicines effective. A question is put to him. ''The ultimate aim was to give life? Is this cruel?''
Navin (Sohum Shah) is a young stock broker who has just had his kidney transplanted. He soon learns of a case of 'stolen kidney' in the same hospital he was operated upon. Shankar, a daily wage earner was admitted for an appendicitis operation. A month later, he collapses at work and realizes one of his kidneys is missing.
Navin is aghast. The date of surgery and his blood group matches. But when he is assured that no such kidney has been given to him, he decides to fight for Shankar. His fight leads him to Stockholm, Sweden. There he learns of 'kidney tourism', a frightening discovery. His conflict with his grandmother, too, falls in perspective when he comes back dejected.
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.
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Now, for the very first line... think about it. What could it be? Eight lives touched by one magnanimous gesture... Three are on screen, five more unfold later.
Go watch it. I will not spoil the paradox for you.