The Ship of Theseus is a 2012 Indian drama directed and written by Anand Gandhi. The exceptional acting and real-life portrayal of each character makes this movie one of its kind. Winning several awards at the Tokyo International Film, the award for the Best Feature Film of the year at the 61st National Film Awards and many more, this movie has established its worth.
The movie is based on the famous Athenian Theseus paradox. Theseus, The King of Athens returned from the war on a ship and for thousand years Athenians maintained his ship in the harbor, and annually re-enacted his voyages. Whenever a part of the ship was damaged, they replaced it with the same identical parts with the same material, until at some point, no original parts remained. Famous Greek Historian and Philosopher Plutarch noted that the Ship Of Theseus was an example of philosophical paradox which aroused a question that “how can every single part of something be replaced, yet it still remains the same thing?”
The whole movie revolves around the persistence of identity. The movie covers three different people and their lives. Aaliya Kamal played by Aida El-Kashef is an Egyptian photographer, who took up photography after losing her sight of a corneal infection. Even after regaining her sight through a transplant, she is unsatisfied by her photography now and seeks comfort. Aaliya’s story is abruptly ended to start Maitreya’s story. Maitreya, a Jain monk played by Neeraj Kabi, files a petition against testing of drugs on animal. He is soon diagnosed with liver cirrhosis, now he has to choose between his belief in animal rights or saving his own life. And finally, we meet Navin played by Sohum Shah, who is an Indian stockbroker. Navin suspects that his newly transferred kidney is stolen from a bricklayer named Shankar. Navin thrives to find the truth and finally discovers that Shankar’s kidney is smuggled to a Swedish recipient. Navin contacts the Swedish recipient and argues to return the kidney. The recipient tries to bribe Shankar with a huge amount of money. Did Shankar accept the money or fought for his stolen kidney, to know that, you got to watch the movie!
The three characters are interconnected, and their connection is portrayed in a very convincing way. The real-life perfection will definitely fascinate the viewers. How we think and feel about society is also a major theme of this movie. A very vital message of organ donation is conveyed by this movie.
The movie ends with the Platonic Allegory of the cave. Plato, the great philosopher, argued that human beings are trapped in the cave of their own existence. Plato believed that humans keep searching for permanency in the temporary. We only see the shadow of a man who is exploring the walls of the caves. The man isn’t able to make it out of the cave as described by Plato.
This movie will create a great impact on the way you see your surroundings. The ideas of how we preserve our body and soul will also be questioned. This will tickle your brain and make you think differently. Revolving around a strong social message, I would definitely recommend this movie to you!
Written by: Sneha Baidya
Editor and Team Lead: Ashutosh Sharma