Three and a Half / Teen Aur Aadha
Director : Dar Gai /India/121/Hindi|Marathi|English/2017
SYNOPSIS “Teen Aur Aadha” has been approached with a unique non-traditional perspective on storytelling, as the entire feature (119 mins) has been filmed in three long shots of 43 mins each (only three cuts in the film), however its the depth and magic of the narrative which really is fascinating.T’is story of one house in three different eras. Where 50 years ago it was divided between a school and an apartment, in which a young boy struggles with the pressures of pre- pubescent school life, coupled with being compelled to share a tiny room with his paralysed, disconsolate grandfather. Who in turn has devious plans for the child’s 12th birthday which happens to fall on a leap year. The same building 20 years later becomes home to a brothel, where a young unexploited concubine is dealing with her self-proclaimed “first” client who has a strange inability to fulfil his physical desire unless obligated to the duress of a transaction to do so. Now, 30 years later these same walls surround a sublime.
Directed by Dar Gai
Written by Dar Gai
Produced by Anurag Kashyap, Dheer Momaya
Director of Photography Aakash Raj
Editor Shubham Mehta, Sanjana Vasudevan
Sound Designer Rakshit Thantry
Music Vivienne Mort
Cast Jim Sarbh , Zoya Hussain , Manmeet Pem , MK Raina , Suhasini Mulay , Arya Dave , Anjum Rajabali
The abstraction of time always fascinated me. Its ambiguity coupled with its inevitable nature makes it an almost magical phenomena. I’ve grown to rationalise it as a myth of sorts, a superstition even, and somehow, I always felt that we exist outside our current understanding of it.
Having lived in Mumbai for a few years, I’ve explored the “old”-city extensively. There are numerous colonial and post-colonial buildings which have withered the harshness and reality of time. An air of ancient charm envelopes their current form. It’s almost like the multiple generations of stories which have been lived through in them leave a mask for posterity. The walls of these buildings have once been home to the likes of Dukes, East India Company Generals and wealthy Indian traders. Now most of them are occupied by obscure government agencies and run-down shanty-like brothels. Maintenance is virtually invisible and most buildings are in a highly dilapidated state. One can often find walls with patches of 60 year old, once flamboyant paint, now covered with stains of Beetle-nut spit. You could even find a wall deep black spots, the remanence of a long extinguished blaze.
It struck me that these walls have stories which they tell us everyday, but not everybody is listening. That’s how “Teen Aur Aadha” was incepted. And the specific structure which I selected to narrate the story is a symbol of all old buildings across the planet which have secrets hidden away in them. In one narrative thread, the story of the building is told over a few decades and highlights the passage of time, another interpretation could be that the stories are all happening simultaneously in the same “space”, which in turn would represent the role that mathematical probability plays in “Time” which would lead to a specific event or “decision”.
The reason why I have used three long-takes to tell the story is that I wanted ‘the walls’ to be the narrating voice, and the walls are motionless, they don’t blink, they just stand objectively and exist in an almost voyeuristic capacity.
The film explores the human “need for love” coupled with “the need to escape”, and how only through acceptance of these realities one can overcome them. Kind of like Camus’s Sisyphus who suffers the journey to freedom from the meaningless and the absurd through the cumbersomeness of acceptance.