The film Cosmic Sex obviously had lot of expectations to meet. First, of course is the name. It suggested lots of titillation and had lots of visits at its release on net. But alas counter culture has its way for a film of such a glorious title. Immediately after the release the film came up on Gariahat strands for 40 bucks and in free download, it is circulating like hot cakes. After the view however what the audience gets is definitely not sex nor art nor counter culture nor nothing. Whatever unleashes on the monitor is neither sensible cinema nor a product you run after.
On one hand the film tries to be simple and straight. But the story telling does not do justice to it. In spite of the straight and forcibly convergent story line the director’s work cannot get rid of stylization as a tool and things start clashing with each other head on. Actors, apart from Rii, seem to be lost in a conundrum and the film takes the position of a student’s exercise.
When a film hovers between ‘stylization’, ‘over simplicity’ and ‘lack of any kind of believability within its own story space’, the result can only be mash up of failures. What we get as a result, is a conglomerate of un-cinematic endeavours backed up by a completely frivolous storyline that is devoid of any acceptance. The director talks about alternative sexual practices as a route to God and makes an ‘art’ film out of it. But to our astonishment it fails miserably in art for the half hearted stylization makes a mockery of art in itself. If a defender of the film likes to call that the director was approaching ‘counter culture’ as especially in the beginning scenes where Kripa runs along the streets and meets the ‘top khanki’ and the following scenes, then he should remember that counter culture have always come up with a story telling of different taste … but not a mesh where the story’s visual congruence goes for a toss. An acceptable amount of believability of action is basic to all genres of cinema, at least within its own story space. The director forgets that and expects the audience to digest whatever he serves in the name of a marginalized religious sect’s practice.
Kripa is a young boy whose mother is dead. He is obsessed with sexuality and its ramifications. He accidentally kills his father while his father objected to him dancing in the arms of his present wife. Paranoid by his action Kripa runs away and meets a ‘whore’ who calls her the ‘top khanki’ of the city. She takes him to her adda where a transvestite gets obsessed with Kripa and wants him. Kripa accidentally kills him too. He runs away again to meet Sadhana-Rii-Ma who gives him shelter. Sadhana is a practitioner of alternative sexual practices (bhojon-sadhana). The film deviates into the past of Sadhana and her guru Ruhul Baba. It’s like a detailed back story where Sadhana gets initiated within the practices of bhojon-sadhana and eventually fights the mainstream religious diktats from their ‘marfoti’ practice point of view. This is the only bit of the film that shows some coherence of style and story-telling. Perhaps because, this is the bit where the director didn’t have the scope of presenting an over simplified narrative that straightens out a rather complex and marginal practice. However, that doesn’t stop him from doing the blunder of putting in preaching session through Ruhul Baba’s lines. The death of Ruhul Baba cuts us back to the present of Kripa and Sadhana. The brave scenes plus verbose preaching follows. To our astonishment the film doesn’t even try to avoid the most banal and trite process of telling a story of ‘literally fighting for the beloved’ and in the process we understand the deaths earlier depicted in the film weren’t death (hilarious and immaturity immaculate)!!! In 2015, where you have assigned ‘markets’ for ‘well crafted documentaries’ and ‘art house films’ the director poses ‘zara zara touch me .. touch me .. touch me’ as a mark of low culture. Where on earth does he want to position himself? Isn’t it outrageously funny and thoroughly pretentious??
Amitabh Chakraborty, the director of the film, is associated with ‘conceptual crafting’ within the film making circuits. His earlier film ‘Kaal Abhirati’ has been a subject of discussion among the ‘serious’ film enthusiasts. He also has to his kitty a ‘successful’ and ‘recognized’ ‘documentary’ on the same subject of ‘cosmic sex’. But he has a completely confused and immature positioning here vis-à-vis his film. It’s the clash of style with a story so simple and banal that better went untold. Even if that was the best that he could do then the story telling process should have addressed the concept of realism better, in a point to point straight narrative where there is no perceivably underlying layers. And with all the control of words in this text, any worthy film of today is better textured and well narrated compared to his. You cannot be outright banal and trite and at the same time reek of immature stylization and expect to pull it off. It is sad to see Amitabh crumbling in every sphere of cinema.
It’s blasphemy not to talk about Rii if you are talking about Cosmic Sex – at least that is the buzz word in the circuit. Rii of course is the saving grace of the film. In the sense, that she carries a poise that can pass off as maturity. Plus she has achieved some crafty shots beautifully (like the song by the tree and others). But at the end the only feel that she generates is lust, depicted through her wet see-through saffron clad body wear and more so with face close-ups with a perfectly smooth skin and well trimmed eyebrows; and by any yard sticks a real life Sadhana is far away from her. And, that (the lust) is perhaps, what the teachers in the film, Ruhul Baba and Sadhana Ma, were talking against and were trying to make us negotiate with the alternative sexual practice and of course fail every bit in their effort. Her brave shots, which are achievement epitomised by now fails to titillate the ‘voyeuristic’ audience (at least this the director achieves) and the so-called ‘good cinema’ audience misses the entire point. So the best line for Rii is ‘good effort gone wasted…’.