'X: Past Is Present'
Directors: Abhinav Tiwari, Anu Menon, Hemant Gaba, Nalan Kumarasamy, Pratim Gupta, Qaushiq Mukherjee (Q), Raja Sen, Rajshree Ojha, Sandeep Mohan, Sudhish Kamath, Suparn Verma
Cast: Rajat Kapoor, Radhika Apte, Huma Qureshi, Anshuman Jha, Swara Bhaskar
Poster of 'X: Past Is Present'. Pic/Santa Banta
This movie is more an interesting experiment with 11 filmmakers dabbling in one subject — an ageing filmmaker’s (Rajat Kapoor) morbid fear of commitment. He is mysteriously called K and thinks of himself as an escape artist — someone, who for most part of his life, ran away from one relationship into the ‘clutches’ of another. Or sometimes, letting relationships uncomfortably and ‘unethically’ overlap each other. Perhaps, in the midst of a midlife crisis, K meets a young woman, Aastha (Aditi Chengappa) at a bar, who gently prods him into going on a flashback mode to the various women in his life, their heartbreaks, disappointments and also in the process, belying his own limitations and insecurities (segment directed by Sudhish Kamat).
The best thing about the film is that it is a fascinating amalgamation of a lot many flavours of varied personalities. It is in one film that you get to experience the poetic, dreamy sequence (directed by Pratim D Gupta) in one of the early love stories of younger K, when he shares beautiful, soul-stirring notes with a woman he chooses to never meet. In direct contrast is a realistic, hardcore thriller twist (directed by Nalan Kumaraswamy) when the really young K (played by Anshuman Jha) gets seduced by a Tamil speaking village belle (Swara Bhaskar) in Tamil Nadu.
Then there is a self assured, bossy girlfriend (Huma Qureshi), pushing boundaries with her bulldozer ways with the still-struggling-to-find-a-foothold K (directed by Raja Sen). And in contrast is the passive aggressive wife (Radhika Apte), who struggles to move on from her lying, cheating husband (directed by Rajshree Ojha). Bang in the middle of all this is a mad, dope-fuelled sequence where K is lusting after the maid and complementing that with his bizarre ‘nightmare’ (directed by Q).
But then this very clash of styles, ironically, also works against the film. Consistency is sorely missing, thanks to different cinematographers and their styles. While it is a strain to train your eyes to adjust to various lightings, it is also an effort to switch from one style of narration to another as it veers from sublime to batshit crazy to downright tacky in the course of just 100-plus minutes. Unfortunately and unnecessarily, one thing that is more or less consistent is the camera’s obsession with lurking in and out of the assets of the women involved.
Kapoor plays his role quite effortlessly. Not much can be said about the women as there are too many of them and some get just about a blink-and-miss role. Huma, Swara and Radhika, however, manage to stand out.
Watch it if you are open to a new experience and don’t get morally offended easily.
Watch the trailer of 'X: Past Is Present'