Ship of Theseus



Ship of Theseus

In his debut feature-length film, Indian playwright Anand Gandhi delivers a deeply stunning look into philosophy, identity, and values in the streets of Mumbai.

Aida Elkashef as a blind photographer in Ship of Theseus.

Anand Gandhi (India, City to City)


Thursday, September 6, 9:30 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox 2 (350 King Street West)

Friday, September 7, 4:45 p.m.
Cineplex Yonge & Dundas 7 (10 Dundas Street East)

Sunday, September 16, 12 p.m.
Scotiabank 4 (259 Richmond Street West)

Anand Ghandi has already achieved great success in India’s television and theatre industries, writing everything from a prolific TV soap to indie one-act plays. But perhaps it’s film that is his true calling. Ship of Theseus is Gandhi’s first feature, which is divided into three separate storylines: a monk forced to choose between his ideals or death, a young photographer who gains her vision but loses her artistic identity, and a stock broker who discovers the cost of poverty within the illegal organ trade. But what unites these three anguished stories, other than the streets and slums of Mumbai, has to do with the philosophical theory of Theseus’ paradox—the question of whether an object is still the same object if all of its constituent elements are replaced.

The philosophical depth of Gandhi’s screenplay doesn’t fully hit home until the subtle, high-impact finale; fortunately the language and performances are enrapturing throughout the film’s 139 minutes. The deep-rooted personal dilemmas facing each character are magnified against the unforgiving backdrop of modern India, and Gandhi does not let the audience off easy. Instead, using sound, light, and prolonged tracking shots, he plunges the viewer into their own philosophical challenges, if they choose to accept them.