Manan's ARYA is strong & original
I am astounded by the level of direction and conceptualization of Manan Katohora's ARYA!
The film reveals an astonishing blend of the postmodern conditions of South Asian Diaspora culture and historicity of Aryan social-scientific developments that took place hundreds and thousands of years ago. In this respect, the characterization of Raj has successfully embodied the contemporary and ancient elements of South Asian culture, thus delineating a ?living tradition? of South Asia beyond the geographical borders. At the same time, the film explores fluid human personalities, psychological questions, and emotions that have a universal human appeal for viewers across the globe.
The performance of the main characters, Raj, Shawna, Nick, and Monica, is very strong. The performance of Malik and Shawna's mom, however, can develop further in terms of coherence and flow. Nevertheless, the stylistic variation of Manan Katohora's direction and screenwriting, and the background music methodically upholds the suspense of this psychological thriller that, in turn, heightens the overall performance of all the above characters. In his directorial debut, Manan has demonstrated his inconceivable faculty for presenting challenging a film like ARYA and I strongly believe that his next films will be expounding elements that are significant for South Asian culture in the contemporary era of globalization.
ARYA is a strong and original contribution to cinematic arts in North America and definitely justifies honorable recognition. I look forward to seeing Manan's forthcoming films - well done!
(The writer - Samita Nandy is Director, Premiere Cinematic Productions, Communication Director, Nouveau IDEA, Sessional Instructor, Communication and Culture, University of Toronto, Canada)