What Aparajita does with these stories is that she focuses on the human connection in each of them. She does this cleverly by making the runaway boy ask questions about the stories to Jyoti
Mystic Memoir is the second film directed by Indian actor Aparajita Ghosh. I have not watched her first film, but upon watching Mystic Memoir I have decided that I will definitely watch the previous one, and all the potential future directorial works by her. Such was the impression left on me by Mystic Memoir.
I will not give away too much about Mystic Memoir as I want the readers to find a way to watch this visual treat. However, some essential information I will divulge on the themes that I found in the film.
The film's premise is that of a teen-aged boy - who definitely belongs in the age of social media - finding his way back to his family, after running away. The film begins with a footage of Holi celebrations which abruptly stops to show us the runaway boy. After he half finishes a burger, and drinks some water, he lies down on the bench he was sitting on, and falls asleep.
The boy gets awakened by a stranger in a yellow punjabi, who in a few words explain to the boy that his name is Jyoti, and that he knows everything about him. The runaway tries to guess what Jyoti does professionally. After two failed guesses, when the boy calls Jyoti a kidnapper, the stranger says "correct."
However, Jyoti does not do anything that a kidnapper does, much to the surprise of the boy. He takes him along a walk through Kolkata, and narrates five stories to him. He also asks the boy to illustrate his impressions on each of the story on his artbook.
In order to find out what happens to Jyoti, and whether the runaway really returns to his home, the readers will have to watch the film.
Mysticism in Mystic Memoir
It is implied from Jyoti and the runaway' conversation that the former is telling the stories to the latter, but this is never actually seen on the film. Instead the viewers will see that the people from within the stories are doing the narration for the camera.
Each of the stories are unique and different from each other. However, at the same time each of them are very similar. Jyoti announces to the runaway before beginning the stories, that all of them will deal with human senses - sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. Conforming to that declaration, the viewers will note the recurrence of one particular sense in each story.
Furthermore, the stories themselves will be very familiar to the viewers. I can confidently say that, us Bangalis, would definitely hear one or a slightly different version of these five stories at least once in our lifetimes, even if we never end up watching Mystic Memoir.
However, what Aparajita does with these stories is that she focuses on the human connection in each of them. She does this cleverly by making the runaway boy ask questions about the stories to Jyoti.
It is through these follow-up conversations about each story - between the runaway and Jyoti - the real theme of the film is revealed. And that is the oft-repeated fact that we are losing both our humanity and human connections by getting stuck in routines, social media, following society's unwritten laws, and so on.
By the time the film ended, I was left with a lot of questions for myself. Here they are; why is it that I have to adhere to a routine every day? Will the world get destroyed if I miss work for one day? Why do I involuntarily check my social media accounts at every idle moment? How bad will it be if I miss one pop culture update? When was the last time I had a really long conversation with my parents, in which I kept saying thank you for all the things they have done for me?
I hope the readers of this review will watch the film and see for themselves, if they too would have similar questions.