We’ve seen a bunch of directors contribute segments in one film, but to have several helmers film portions of a single film? That’s a new one. ‘X : Past Is Present’ has eleven filmmakers pitch in to create the story of K, a filmmaker reflecting over his past and present during the course of one night.
There’s promise in the premise. How often do we have different people look at us, and find an aspect which is strikingly, or terrifyingly different? Each part, filmed by a different eye and sensibility, should have created an intriguing jigsaw. But the execution fails the ambition of this film : ‘X’ plays out as a disjointed stutter, rather than a seamless progression, its backing-and-forthing more choppy and confusing than anything else.
The director, who is the central figure, remains the same. That is, he is played by the same actor. Anshuman Jha, as the young man, and Rajat Kapoor as the older, greying man, still in search of himself. The journey takes him through his past, and ten former girl-friends, whom he encounters at different stages : he turns out to be a real number, this K, with his slippery grin and side shuffle, hidden behind dark glasses, and a permanent state of drift.
Or he would have, if this film had actually turned out to be one. But except for one segment, right at the end, which has Swara Bhaskar and the young Jha, and a sense of time and place, the rest have practically no weight, nor heft. They just go past in a blur, without any real markers. The lines sound forced, and Kapoor says them without investing anything in his character. Did he find an outline which he wanted to fill, or was he left, like us, looking for one?
And we come away without being any the wiser. Who is K? Why is he the way he is? Questions, questions.
Star cast: Rajat Kapoor, Radhika Apte, Huma Qureshi, Swara Bhaskar, Anshuman Jha, Aditi Chengappa, Bidita Bag, Rii, Gabriella Schmidt, Usha Uthup
Directors: Abhinav Shiv Tiwari, Anu Menon, Hemant Gaba, Nalan Kumaraswamy, Pratim D Gupta, Q, Raja Sen, Rajshree Ojha, Sandeep Mohan, Sudhish Kamath, Suparn