Film: M Cream
Director: Agneya Singh
Starring: Imaad Shah, Ira Dubey, Tom Alter, Barry John, Raaghav Chanana, Auritra Ghosh, Beatrice Ordeix
Review: Every now and again, away from the soapy clutter of emotionally bloated and whimsical Indian movies, there comes along a road movie that freshens things up.
Visually spectacular and gripping for its bittersweet lampooning of poetry, song and dance and those trippy sequences, shot beautifully around the landscape of North India, M Cream brings together four Delhi college students on a road-trip to discover a mythical mind-expanding drug, M Cream. The story focuses on their relationship, and touches beautifully on matters of love, longing, conflicting choices, and pretty much everything that shades the mind and heart of an avid youngster.
The plot moves along casually, but never without a focus on the life of aimless drifter but poetic charmer Figgs (Imaad Shah), focused and passionate student activist J (Ira Dubey), flirtatious but somewhat temperamental photographer Niz (Raaghav Chanana), and the bubbly and somewhat confused Maggie (Auritra Ghosh). Teenagers hailing from rich backgrounds, they are confident, but couldn’t care any less about the pleas of parents wanting them to tread on a focused path and to “settle down” in life.
The torch bearers of this 120-min road journey stop at nothing to have fun, even if that means camping along with a group of hippies by a riverside at the picturesque Dharamshala and getting cozy all too suddenly within a moment of stepping into some mind altering substances. There’s even a rave party and limitless tripping on LSD, for both the pros and the first timers, amidst a jovial camp setting augmented by a firang (foreigner in local dialect) who traveled to India in the 60s and never quite got going.
As the movie chases their enigmatic journey away from the humdrum of urban decay in Delhi, our characters engage in an interlude of romance and passionate self-discovery, with Figgs, the lead act, finding a way to support newfound love, J, in her bid to help local villagers around Dharamshala save their forests and restore their land from the tyranny of politicians who will stop at nothing to build an exotic resort on the face of the forests.
Figgs and J, as similar to each other as bacon and pastry, holding dissimilar views on life and of India and its problems are drawn closer, courtesy of their endless banter and mocking of one another, in a trip where apart from song and music, Maggie and Niz can’t get enough of each other. Figgs is a rebel without a cause who disbelieves in the several issues of corruption plaguing India and regards matters of nationalistic fervor as a load of baloney. J, on the other hand is drawn toward the plight of refugees and is a fervent advocate of the right of Tibetans to belong to “their” land.
But Figgs is somewhat mysteriously charming, despite his passiveness and nonchalance. He writes amazing poetry, and one of the film’s great attractions is the mellifluence that flows through his rustic knitting of words, which sparkle meaning and pump life into phrases like the “dry leaves,” “windy mountain,” “atomic love” and “blistering rain.”
Do the stars on a starlit journey under the ash of the impressionable Himalayas discover their “Aphrodite'”? That may be what you need to watch the film for, but what matters most in the space of two hours is that debut director Agneya Singh has assembled an offbeat caravan that rides on top gear and reaches where it should, despite riding along with the somewhat deluded, disillusioned but dreamy eyed, and fun living youth.
The movie ultimately camps around love, albeit strolling around the rocky terrains of drugs, limitless drinking binges, bittersweet arguments and longings and findings in the lives of these four: as it should.
This one is worth a visit.
Rating (one to five whistles, five being the best): Four Whistles
Contributor Dev Tyagi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead-In Image Courtesy of M Cream and Agniputra Films