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RAD Review: Short Film Kurma evokes Indian mythology and storytelling at the concluded NYIFF 2021!


Image Source: https://www.nyiff.us/film/Kurma_68/

A legend of the second Avatar of Lord Vishnu, Kurma, who churned the ocean of milk to extract an elixir of immortality is what this film shows metaphorically. The film is a clear example of the reincarnation of a deity from one form of life to another in a zoomorphic adaptation, set up in a real world. Given the same name, as the deity and its fable of reincarnation to become a tortoise to save the world, Kurma, written and directed by Ramsee Chand is a beautiful imitation of a small world revolving around Rohan and his family.


Rohan, as shown in the film — without any tangible flashbacks, has lost his daughter Amrita

and his wife. He accompanies and takes care of his father who is suffering from Alzeihmer disease, who once escaped the house as shown in the initial phase of the film. Rohan, portrayed by Nitin Madan, despite losing her daughter is not into an emotional wreck, as Amrita appears as a soul and talks to him to share memories. The fascinating concept of depicting memories on screen will leave you awestruck, for it is shown in real-time without any cuts to flashback — taking assistance of a projector flashing on the face of the character. This shows the proficiency of the director who has done his majors in Film & TV and Economics, knowing all the aspects of

filmmaking but choosing to drive storytelling — conjoining and intertwining the physical

apparatus.



Image Source: https://www.nyiff.us/film/Kurma_68/



Sailing in the middle of this eighteen minutes drama and family, Rohan is seen to be seeing a Padma with whom he is spending loveable moments. Until, when the camera goes behind Rohan to take a left rolling pan, and we see Amrita again, with a questioning look on her face. To which he, emboldened by his thoughts, tells the lady that he hasn’t overcome his past to take this relationship any further. From the scene, we can feel the uneasiness and being stuck in the loop of moving ahead and pulled back by the past, from Rohan’s own psychology.



Image Source: https://www.nyiff.us/film/Kurma_68/



Afterwards, when he is enjoying visiting the memories with her daughter, he is introduced to a

memory that Amrita is not a part of. Rohan, in a skeptical zone, propels gears of his mind for a

contemplation that she is rooting out memories from her grandfather, and thus susceptible to

Alzeihmer disease. After which, he along with his father, heads for the Asthi-Visarjan ( ash immersion ) of her daughter’s soul that resided in the sacred pot, and thus communicated with Rohan. A metaphorical elucidation in comparison to the mythological Kurma and the Kurma of this tiny world is that, the churning not only extracts the elixir but a venom along with it. And to convalesce one person from a disease, the other must let go of his disease that is acting as an obstacle as well as contributing to deterioration.


Like every other thing in this universe — which completes its circle — considering the reincarnation into a new avatar, this film yet again shows you a metaphorical connection to the

fable of Lord Kurma. Conjoining and weaving a story around such a profound subject by satisfying every element of the fable, the director cum writer, Ramsee Chand, has shown his vigor in the world of storytelling. The director of photography, Matthew Foundoulis, lets you immerse in every scene for their righteousness of contribution to the essence of the scene. The

entire film has a span of shots ranging from a withholding long take, to still shots played brilliantly by blocking and composition. The composition for an exhilarating sunrise shot at the

near end of the film will be etched in your hearts — instigating to reproduce if you are a filmmaker. For its music and sound, the film has a very little part for any musical score or a

song, conforming it was unnecessary for a film that itself is captivating for its simplicity. Finally

yet importantly, editing done by Benjamin Freemantle and Elliot Farinaro have done a brilliant

job for that you will never rewind a scene to understand what happened — in short, perfectly

seamless.



Director: Ramsee Chand

Starring: Nitin Madan, Suraj Huda, Alanna Smith

Run time: 00:18:33

Language: English, Hindi (with Subtitles)

Year Made: 2020

Country: United States


Ramsee Chand is a filmmaker from San Jose, CA and a recent graduate of New York University where he studied Film & TV Production and Economics. Ramsee has had experience in all aspects of production, but found his passion in producing and directing. He seeks to tell global stories, becoming a Sundance Ignite Finalist for his Cuban documentary “La Lucha Entre Cubas” (2017). He’s an ambitious and talented filmmaker possessing a vast array of films credits ranging from rat wrangler in Leecher (2016) to Executive Producer on the television pilot Something Bigger (2020). He was most recently one of Scott Rudin's assistants.


 

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