Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ankhon Dekhi Review

Blind Escape!

Greek philosopher Plato once claimed that knowledge gained through the senses is nothing but opinion and that, in order to have real knowledge, we must gain it through philosophical reasoning. This made him put forward the theory of 'Allegory of the Cave' (Do read about this first). This allegory was stunningly manifested by Anand Gandhi in his Ship Of Theseus when all the three protagonists of the film, at the end, are watching a video footage of a cave; and it is shot with each one of them look teary-eyed and having a moment of epiphany, like, they were the prisoners all their lives and just had the enlightenment of truth, with that projector's light behind them indicating the Sun from Plato's allegory. Knowing that there's also one such projector behind us while watching that film, Ship Of Theseus proved to be life-changing for many. May be, one of them was Bauji from Rajat Kapoor's latest Ankhon Dekhi.

Bauji (played by Sanjay Mishra) has this epiphany, in an early scene, after he sees that his daughter's boyfriend is not what had been described to him, that how we believe things on mere hearsay. He feels that we were like the prisoners from the allegory who were relying on the shadow perception. Plato, in this theory, distinguishes between people who mistake sensory knowledge (world as seen through shadows) for the truth and people who really do see the truth. It is then when Bauji decides to escape from his 'cave' to see the truth through only his eyes. He even warns that his truth could be different from yours'. He limits one of his senses, the ear as he will not be certain of what he has heard. He will now only believe what he has seen. This, no doubt, makes him a myopic. And, he agrees, saying, "Haan, mai mendak hoon lekin apne kuyen se main parichit hoon." If seen from a distance, he has in fact chosen to be one of those tied prisoners who are made to believe the world as through their restricted senses; and the film also works as a reverse of the allegory.

This leads to friction between his ideas and his family and the world. This makes him even more distant, logically and physically, from them: he quits his job; his brother, who seemed to be more responsible towards his daughter, gets separated. Hint to this distance was given away in the framing of some of the introductory scenes where we see him separated from the rest in the frame through a door and the camera observes them from a distance.

But all through this, he gains some (blind) followers who follow his ideologies. Bauji preaches them about his experience, like that escaped prisoner does on his Return. Bauji looks like one who could start his own religion of sorts with such followers. But if we are not told his internal state of mind, he would look like one going through old-age crisis, or as one suggests, male-menopause. For some, he could be like one of those who depart from their families in search of enlightenment through some religion. But he, thankfully, has stopped following any religion too which was quite early on his "experimentation", followed by sparing his thoughts on concepts of maths and physics. This part, no matter how conveniently thought and written by Kapoor, didn't let the film to follow the easy way. What surround Bauji after his changeover are his familial concerns, which brings that Indian-ness to this experimental film.

Though I didn't see interval coming, the film suffers a bit after that... of strangeness and absurdism (Though not like Kapoor's last Fatso! where I saw two different films; but that character in this one who doesn't stop blabbering reminded me of a scene from that film where Ranvir Shorey's character does the same in it). It let me to think if the film is really going where it wanted to be. But, this time, more than the tale, you have to believe the teller. Not knowing what it is building up to and swiftly going on with Bauji's rambling and gambling, once he finds himself liberated, you will fly, along.

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