Enlighten, Rs 399
Rating: * * * *
Director-producer Shivajee Chandrabhushan and cinematographer-scriptwriter Shanker Raman have managed to tell a rare tale in a never-before language. The duo has done it through three storytelling choices. First, it's told in a coruscating black-and-white. Second, the camera tracks motions and focal points with an unusual seamlessness. And third, the story's pace matches the slowness of actions in the high-altitude desert that's Ladakh.
The lives of the debt-ridden jam-maker Karma (a dazzling Danny Denzongpa), his teenage daughter Lasya (a moody Gauri Kulkarni), and silent son Chomo (an expressive Skalzang Gultuk) are disrupted when the army sets up camp on their doorstep. Like the wisps of smoke in Karma's kitchen, the story's threads start merging, meandering and vanishing into the thin air.
The film was shot at a height of 12,000 feet, at temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees. In such a rarefied air, delusions can get closer to reality. This film brilliantly messes around with that uncomfortable uncertainty.