Kabir Mehta is letting you watch Buddha.mov for free just this week. You must. Find out how.
Author: Deepa Bajaj |
April 4th 2019
If you've not heard of Buddha.mov yet, the debut film by Kabir Mehta follows Buddhadev Mangaldas, a 27 year old flamboyant cricketer from Goa, who gave unrestricted access into the most private parts of his life, lured by the chance of being a movie star, more like the protagonist of a documentary film. During the process, both filmmaker and subject find themselves on a journey they had not planned to be on. And that is what makes this film such a compelling watch.
Shot in documentary style but a film that is part documentary part fantasy, we do not know what is fact and what is fiction. And it almost seems that neither does the subject, Buddha. A pro cricketer turning into a luxury real estate professional (family business), a wannabe movie star (which he is at least in this film), and perpetual fornicator, Buddha is seen as what is the cliched definition of 'bro culture' and 'app culture'.
The buffed up dude, born with a silver spoon, likes to show and tell his sexual escapades, and you'll get to see plenty of that (literally) in the film. His casual misogyny and sexism is heard in his statements, made to shock. What drives him is what drives many of us, not just millennials, in time present. Digital voyeurism, social media validation and the easy access of f...ks.
If Hardik Pandya's infamous comments along with KL Rahul's enabling on Karan Johar's show riled you, you are in for a ride. But Kabir Mehta's made a film that is addictive with every frame. The docu-fantasy feeds that very digital voyeur in you. With a very clever edit built around social media - Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Tinder and other apps, Kabir shows us the man behind the comments. He seems to be making a comment on the pseudo-machismo the whole film, without making an active one, until the last eight minutes of the film.
You'd think what would hit a Buddha is a scandal like the one Pandya and KL Rahul found themselves in. Or you'd like to relish in it. But what happens is far more permanent. Was the man in the whole film unmasked in the last eight minutes? Or is that when the mask came on? Or it’s neither? Just the reflection of our vapid existences and existential crisis in an 'app culture'. How much of this is the real Buddha, and how much fiction, is something only Buddha and Kabir can tell us. Whatever you believe, whatever you see, the one thing that is probably true... neither filmmaker nor subject came out of this looking at life the way they did when they went in.
Kudos to Kabir Mehta, for making one of the most ingenious experimental docu-fiction films around, with a special excellence in the editing choice that styles the narrative just so perfectly.
Buddha.mov made its world premiere at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in competition in 2017. It has had a tremendous journey since, and also played at Mumbai Film Festival in 2018. To watch it, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and you will get a link in your inbox, in a minute! It's automated. On for this week only, we presume until 9th April. So go now. You can't say we didn't tell you.