A classy musical contemplation of self-doubt

A classy musical contemplation of self-doubt

Aditya Modak delivers a moving performance as a classical singer.

The Disciple

Marathi (Netflix)

Director: Chaitanya Tamhane

Cast: Aditya Modak, Arun David, Sumitra Bhave

Stars: 3.5/5

Mildly upset with his young disciple after a stage show, his Hindustani classical guru (Arun David) tells him (Aditya Modak) his music lacks life.

‘The Disciple’, by Chaitanya Tamhane, is a singer’s never-ending pursuit of this ‘life’.

The Marathi drama is a treat for classical music lovers but even someone with a minimal understanding of the art can appreciate the film because of its universal themes. Anyone who has faced self-doubt will easily identify with protagonist Sharad.

In fact, Sharad finds inspiration from listening to the lectures of a revered singer who never craved recognition. ‘The Disciple’ is also an ode to the unsung heroes of classical music who either choose to stay away from the limelight or are kept on the margins by those who occupy centre-stage.

The guru-shishya relationship beautifully reflects changing times. Sharad as a disciple ready to serve his master forever. But his own disciples don’t share the same feeling towards him. Perhaps they don’t need to.

Sharad is even amused at a singer’s swift rise to fame through an Indian Idol-like reality show oriented to modern-day music. Director Tamanhe suggests the world is harsh on purists.  

Aditya Modak, a trained singer, delivers a moving performance. Tamanhe maintains his no-frills and unhurried style which we saw in his previous film ‘Court’ (2014). Many stage performances shot for the film are soothing to the ear, thanks to the exquisite sound design from Anita Kushava and Naren Chandavarkar.

With two consecutive quality films, Tamhane has well and truly emerged as the poster boy of independent cinema in India. 

‘The Disciple’, which won the Best Screenplay Award at the Venice Film Festival along with the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize, is something you should catch this weekend. 

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