Friday, July 13, 2012

Review: The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project

This might be a review of a review of a review, because it is a review of a movie about a movie about a movie. One can never be sure, because director Srinivas Sunderrajan with his micro budget has crafted a surreal and intricate enough movie to make you reach out for your chin and gleefully wallow in your doubts. 

The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project is a meta film that makes for delicious fodder for people who love and/or make cinema. The titular Kartik Krishnan stars as a software engineer who trawls the (now defunct) website PassionForCinema and is in awe of a certain Srinivas who has put up a blog post on the site about meeting Quentin Tarantino. Kartik meets Srinivas and asks him to direct his script, the latter agrees much to the delight of the former, but little does Kartik know that there are invisible forces at work around him. As he starts writing his script he realizes that nothing is as it seems, and the movie takes a bizarrely edgy detour into a certain Coen Brothers 90’s movie. 

Kartik is besotted with his office colleague Swara (Swara Bhaskar) and begins to hallucinate her Black Swan avatar hanging around him. He is also greeted by a contract-carrying antagonistic man in Ray Bans every time he begins to write. Hard boiled film buffs will likely figure out what Kartik is going through soon enough, but it’s hard not to love the third act and its audacious final twist. The film's clever plot and treatment is nicely complemented by Hashim Badani’s slick black and white cinematography and Sujil Sukumaran’s minimalistic electronic score. The actors, barring Swara Bhaskar don’t leave much of an impression, but after digesting the climax one begins to wonder if that was the point. The film clocks in at a swift 70 minutes, and in the end none of its drawbacks matter seeing as the effort is so brave and so far ahead of anything Bollywood has come up with this year.

In an industry where star power, talent, egos, libidos and technology collide, The Untitled Kartik Krishnan Project is a hidden gem, one that is a vaccine to those tired of the commercial tripe playing in theaters everywhere. Watch it.

(First published in MiD Day)

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