Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Suspense doesn’t get much more agonizing than it does here. We meet Kabeer (Kannan Nayar) and his girlfriend Durga (Rajshri Deshpandey) while they’re on the run—from what, we don’t know. Hitchhiking in desperation, they’re picked up by two boorish men (Sujeesh K. S. and Arun Sol) who immediately start ogling Durga. In the darkness of night, these creeps drive the protesting passengers well past their destination, all the while exuding menace and lust. But while they’re definitely not the nicest folks around, it’s unclear just how bad they really are. That’s where things get interesting.
Director Sanal Kumar Sasidharan is after provocation as much as terror: he takes the opposing conventions of the horror flick and the art film and plays them off each other with the assurance of a master. His film is mischievous, even cruel, but it nonetheless has an air of serious inquiry. It asks us to examine our prejudices, our fears, even our basic instincts—especially as they’ve been shaped by other movies. Add to the mix scenes of masochistic religious worship and an abrasive heavy metal soundtrack and you’ve got something truly strange and fearsome. This movie is, as they say, not for everyone—but everyone who sees it will remember it when the effects of less original, more comforting movies have faded away.
"Unrelenting and intense… a frightening film made all the more affecting by its proximity to the everyday reality of millions of women around the world."—J Hurtado, Screen Anarchy
Tiger Award, Rotterdam 17