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Bangalore Film Society

SAMSARA

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It could have been a simple, minimalistic, resonating fable on the nature of human desire and renunciation, something out of a slightly perverse Jatakla Tale (one hidden by a scret society of megalomaniac monks?? The Buddha Code anyone?), with even a smarter-than-your-average animal thrown in for a not-so-subtle-metaphor. But Director Pan Nalin seems more inclined to peddle exotica/erotica than get to the essence of the philosophy he has chosen to explore. Personally, I have no problem with erotica but it's the psuedo-sense of eastern philosophy and mysticism he tries to invoke in this lined-from-end-to-end-with-sledgehammered-metaphor movie that grated my nerves into cheddar towards the later part of the second half.

The movie begins with promise and of course, metaphor. A young monkarises from arduous solitary meditation only to find that he still leaves stains on his robe every night. And thus, he proceeds to unlearn all that he has learnt in his hermetic life and proceeds to experience worldly desires which is basically when the erotica comes in and to give Pan Nalin due credit, the guy seems to have quite a way with it. Until here the movie has a sense of earnestness which then proceeds to unravel into pretentiousness, boredom, a Jackie Chan moment which involves the monk making a dive across a table and some magic realism discourse on Buddha's wife, Yashodhara which pops out of almost nowhere. But then that's why it's called Magic Realism.

High points of the movie include a 'Sex Ed:The Buddhist Way' scene featuring a silent monk that plays more like an existensially lonely Hugh Hefner in a cave moment rather than the revelation it is supposed to be, but still plays well for it's all out corniness. And then there's a cute Chubby lil monk who does an extened version of one of the best moments of 'Kolya'. The lil tyke is cute enough to make you go 'awwww!'. And then, if I haven't mentioned it before, I'll state it again- the erotica.

Don;t go by the posters- it's the best thing about the movie other than the lush cinematography which complements the wonderous scenery that is Ladakh and of course, here i go again:- The Erotica.

Strictly for the mystically naive or the irrepresably horny.

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