WATCH THE TRAILER HERE
First, the Recap:
Do we ever wonder what is really happening in this reality when the choices we make could be having effects on another? As we seek answers to questions that plague our mind, what if that search has much more far-reaching ramifications than we even realize? For one novelist, Indranil Deashi (Amjad Prawej), this could not be closer to the truth as he seeks out a fitting finale for his newest thriller, “Pitch Dark”. Yet, while he wrestles with this dilemma, the arrival of an unexpected visitor, Arpita (Sunanda Pati), a woman whose past history with Indranil is less than amicable now, shatters his world on the cusp of discovering the ending he desires, not expecting his own end is about to manifest.
Meanwhile, another novelist, Rajiv Dey (Abhijit Ganguly), takes it upon himself to finish Deashi’s book for his own glory to be restored, much to the curiosity of a prickly journalist (Jyothi Thyagarajan) interviewing him. Even as Rajiv attempts to justify why he’s chosen to take on the completion of the novel, another universe is revealed where one of the book’s primary characters, an actress named Shwetha (Indumathi Manohar), has been found brutally murdered. A hard-nosed detective (Amit Ansshu) finds himself attempting to investigate the crime and seek out the perpetrator, with suspects ranging from a malcontented film director (Salmin Sheriff) to a co-star from the director’s current slasher film, Aditya (Vijay Krishna). Now, the real hunt begins.
Next, my Mind:
Jealousy, greed, questionable motives, unsettled minds, murder, and reality-warping timespans dominate writer/director/producer/editor Santosh M P’s debut feature film effort, executed in a fantastical display of weird, surreal, mind-twisting turns and themes that almost makes the project an amalgamation of “Raman Raghav 2.0” and “The Twilight Zone”. It’s a thinking man’s film, as the viewer does need to pay strict attention to every detail, surmising along the way exactly which reality the various sections are taking place in and how it all fits into the grand narrative being presented. It’s a uniquely crafted set-up, and one not common, to this reviewer’s knowledge, in mainstream Indian cinema. However, this is what always tends to make independent film stand out from the “norm”, hence why this movie is another refreshing entry into the genre and one that could be a catalyst to challenge, perhaps even affect change in, larger studio efforts.
Prawej does a convincing job in portraying Indranil, an intelligent writer whose love of thrillers and the formula he’s always followed suddenly gets shaken up with this newest novel and the striving to find an adequate ending, only to have his own personal finale get written. Ansshu’s Detective is deftly portrayed by the actor as a man who certainly knows his job, but his judgement and general actions are clouded by his own murky tendencies and jilted life view. The lovely Manohar smartly weaves her way through the story’s alternate reality as Shwetha, an actress whose involvement with, funny enough, a slasher film ends up being her actual end. Krishna’s Aditya is a self-confident actor whose wooing of Shwetha may or may not be the rationale behind a killer’s intentions. Sheriff is wonderful as the excessively controlling Director, whose own actions and attitudes towards his leading lady may also signal potential killer instincts.
Solid supporting turns are given by Ganguly and Thyagarajan, and composer Arjun Chandran’s haunting music score adds an excellent level of atmosphere to the film as well. In total, “A ‘Pitch Dark’ Diorama” is one trippy film that as mentioned above takes some investment in mind to fully grasp how events unfold within it’s bending, ever-fluid storyline. But, as also stated above, it’s an uncommon, distinctive piece of indie film that deserves the time to take in and revel at.
As always, this is all for your consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading!