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  • Writer's pictureS.K. Chishty

Spotlight: The Disciple (2020)

From the director of 'Court', another rigorous exploration of a rigid structure - Indian Classical music.

Chaitanya Tamhane jumped straight to the ranks of important filmmakers with his Academy Award nominated 'Court'. An objective exploration of the systematic disparities entrenched in the Indian legal system, apolitical on the surface, its politics did not come from the excruciating court procedures with casual ad-hominem attacks on the victims.

It derived its point from the chilling scenes, in which the lawyers and the judge are shown to be simple family people that we meet everyday. This suggested that so ingrained are tiny injustices in the system, that the people practicing them are simply doing their jobs. Though, in my opinion, its European formalism hurt its cause rather than making it more pointed. The new film feels more fluid at once, (see trailer below) and I hope will surpass its predecessor.

Tamhane's next film The Disciple is also set in a rigid world insulated by tradition and the demands that it sets up for its younger practitioners: that of Indian Classical music. It is the story of an vocal artist Sharad Nerulkar (Aditya Modak) seeking perfection and approval of his gurus while trying to adjust within the modern life.

Already receiving positive reviews internationally, it is the first Indian film in two decades at Venice Film Festival as main competitor. The first was Mira Nair's Moonsoon Wedding, that won the coveted Golden Lion at the festival.

Executive Produced by Alfonso Cuarón (Roma, Gravity), the Marathi film is also in competition at Toronto International Film Festival and seems all set to be sent by the Indian panorama in the Best Foreign Film Award entry to the Academy Awards.

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