a journey to the inner self
The night before the Golden Globes 2032, the world renowned dancer Dhruv, rehearses in an empty auditorium and reminisces the moments he spent with his soulmate Sam. Guilt ridden and lost he tries to justify to himself, the choice he once made to attend an audition, instead of being by Sam’s side in the last moments of her life.. after all it was she who wanted him to succeed the most.
This experimental Indian Classical dance film offers a dynamic fusion of cinematic live action, theatrical elements, and animation, inviting the audience to embark on a captivating journey through time, space, rhythm, movement, and Indian culture. Through a masterful blend of futuristic Boston, ancient 16th century Orissa, and newly independent 1940s Kerala, the film unravels the lasting impact of colonization and the evolution of South Asian social constructs. The story reveals how the quest for self-worth, rooted in the desire to prove oneself to the Western world, has become ingrained in the mindset of South Asians today.
A Mahari’s Prayer is set in Medievil Odisha, where King Pratap Rudra Deva of the suryavamsa Dynasty reigned and temple dancers were regarded women of high society… where the culture was raw and the outlook on life, love , art , femininity and sexuality and even spirituality was not tainted by the colonial lens. It is the story of a Temple dancer who encountered worldly love but chose another path.
Intrigued Sam wants to know more. Dhruv quenches her thirst with another story, this time set in Kerala in the 1940s before independence
He tries to explain how intricate, yet damaged his culture is, and how much his people.. his art went through after the British raj left India.. and why his drive is so deep to become someone in this world.to be recognised, for this art to be recognised and appreciated.
Dhruv then tries to explain how his culture changed after Independence of India and how the culture his dance and him follow is actually based on a cultural change that happened because of colonialism. How reinstating what was lost is a big part of who he is.. As if doing that will make him whole again.
He tells the story of
Munaam Aatakari, (the Third dancing girl) set in 1940s a pre independence India and the effects that British laws and even independence, and the national identity had on people.. and the disruption of cultural norms at the time, disadvantaging many, especially certain groups of women..India’s outlook on its own caste and class hierarchies and the cruelty that came of it, is also explored.
Dhruv explains that this displacement is something everyone is fighting till date.
This world that Dhruv describes seems a perfect hideout for Sam