The Last Act- Movie Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on December 14, 2012 | No Comments
FILM – The Last Act
PRODUCER – Large Short Films
DIRECTOR – Asmit Pathare, Nitin Bhardwaj, Tathagata Singha, Nijo – Rohit, Tejas Joshi, Jagannathan Krishnan, Kabir Chowdhry, Nitye Sood, Varun Chowdhury, Anurag Goswami, Rohin V, Himanshu Tyagi
WRITER – Asmit Pathare, Nitin Bhardwaj, Tathagata Singha, Nijo – Rohit, Tejas Joshi, Jagannathan Krishnan, Kabir Chowdhry, Nitye Sood, Varun Chowdhury, Anurag Goswami, Rohin V, Himanshu Tyagi
CAST – Ensemble cast
MUSIC – Ensemble
The Last Act is an outcome of a collaboration of twelve hand-picked short film-makers across the country given a story idea and let loose to weave it according to their imagination. There is one story that binds the twelve narratives together but myriad ideas that emanate from them. There is imagination and passion at play but most importantly there is an organic originality that shows through.
A badly mutilated body is found and on the body are several items that seem to be the only clues to the identity of the man or his murderer, if murder it was. The chase begins in Mumbai with a theatre troupe headed by the character played by Saurabh Shukla. From there we move onto Kolkatta, Ghaziabad, Delhi, Pune, Kalyan, Hisar, Chennai, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Gwalior. These are the places the clues lead to and also where troupe has performed.
Each city segment is handled by a different director, all mentored by Anurag Kashyap, who invests his own interpretation of the material in his own voice. Hence, we get to watch very individualistic and independent toned narratives, which may or may not satisfy the demands of the thriller elements of the story but does present a compelling statement for the talent residing in yet untapped new voices today.
For most part, the film follows a traditional clue-hunt, unravelling a part of the mystery even as deepening the suspense. The Mumbai, Ghaziabad, Kolkatta, Gwalior, Kalyan narratives stand out for their tightness and the mystery they lend to the film. Not without their own quirks, they become a slice-of-life re-telling of very identifiable situations that makes for immensely satisfying and gripping viewing. The Alice-in-Wonderland-ish Pune and Kafka-esque Hisar stories treat their material with a surrealism which in itself is delectable but unfortunately fail to tie up with the mood or plot progression. The Chandigarh story plays out as an intense and cathartic expression and explores the visual medium for its purpose, but does not further the plot, remaining content to show a mere aspect of it. The Chennai and Bengaluru stories stand out as mild and flaky at best.
The climax is an intriguing take on the duality of life and death, truth and lies and the search for the line that joins them. There are several gaps and questions that are left to the audience’s imagination and the final act itself is revealed directly, not as a part of an investigation, but simply suggesting it happened. Given the nature of the climax it works very well, a voice-over or flashback clearly would have been an unnecessary dilution.
The film is completely independent in spirit film with unknown faces playing their parts with an admirable control. Shot in the digital medium, it isn’t visually enchanting. But what this project was meant for and achieves beautifully is bringing us are twelve fresh voices, who make a compelling case for new thought in our cinema. This is one experiment that deserves an applause.