Manthan: A Movie

Raahath Jiloha

Manthan is about a woman taxi driver and a prostitute in Mumbai. Set in 2011, the news of a bomb being discovered in a taxi outside a Mumbai Local Station creates paranoia in the mind of the protagonist taxi driver. She is then compelled to secure her taxi, her livelihood. A prostitute, in an attempt at committing an act of her own hires her to take her to another local train station. Due to the inherent differences and their identities, the ride seems to be strained for the both of them as they share opposite outlooks. Subsequent to the initial glitch in communication, unfolds a discourse about their discrete forms of sustenance leading to emerging mutual interest. However, the taxi driver is unable to dispel her suspicion of the prostitute due to her own reservations. She is caught between her liking for her passenger and her misgiving. Then, an ensuing event, unfurls a strong decision on her part that puts them in a spin.

Each film in a filmmaker’s life arises out of the need to externalise some life experience or the observed. As I begin to talk about my Film Institute diploma film Manthan,it feels as though I am talking about a past life lesson. I seemed to have lived so many lifetimes since then.

A person like me, right out of college, felt privileged at getting into a premier film school in the first attempt. Although, by no means did that mean that it was an easy ride. The years spent at film school were a synthesis of the previous experiences that I brought along and the new ones that I prepared myself to encounter.

The quest for the ‘self’ which most often gets mirrored into my works was the driving force for me throughout. No matter in which role a woman is seen at a given moment, she encompasses all facets within. I wanted to portray my understanding of the Feminine Principle that I had gathered over my years of experience. At the onset, it seemed as though women could be characterised in the two broad niches of the sexualised one or the mother. In reality, like any human being, women carry within a plethora of potentialities.

Continue reading