Festivals - Fantasia 2020 : Kriya, discover the trailer
“ As an independent filmmaker who directs from his own original material, I have always felt more comfortable being an outlier. My rather irrational desire for originality, to make films that are atypical and uncategorizable, inevitably steers me towards genre. For it is the fantastique that enables one to fearlessly open closed doors and peer behind forbidden facades, thereby revealing one’s deepest fears and anxieties.Kriya, like my past work, was born out of an acutely personal reaction to what was happening in my country, where Hindu fundamentalism and chauvinistic religious persecution were ripping India apart.” - Sidharth Srinivasan
From writer/director Sidharth Srinivasan of Reel Illusion Films (Soul of Sand), and producers Tejash Shah of Accord Equips Pvt. Ltd. (Headhunter) and B. S. Narayanaswamy (Court). Say your prayers before watching this exclusive Kriya trailer…
DJ Neel encounters the ravishing Sitara while working a club set one night and is transfixed by her. They return to Sitara’s place where Neel is horrified to see the gagged and shackled body of her dying father – Sitara’s grieving family keeping vigil around it. Caught completely unawares, Neel’s compassion is nevertheless aroused and he stays on. In India, patriarchal custom dictates that only a son can perform a parent’s last rites, but no such person exists in Sitara’s family. So when her father actually dies during the course of the night, Sitara coerces Neel to officiate the rituals of death. Thrust into a world of magic and transgression, Neel finally attempts to flee his waking nightmare. But as dawn breaks, it becomes evident that Sitara’s family is afflicted by an ancient curse. One that Neel is now very much a part of.
New Delhi filmmaker Sidharth Srinivasan’s first horror work (and first narrative feature in a decade, following Soulf of Sand, an acclaimed selection at TIFF and Rotterdam), KRIYA comes at the viewer with seductive allure and a uniquely venomous bite. It’s an aesthetically beautiful film, mystically atmospheric and imbued with a creeping unease that casts an uncommon spell. It’s also startlingly transgressive. While the film is vibrant with stark imagery and an amusingly dark sense of humour, Kriya is very much a work of confrontational art. One that subverts Hindu ritual traditions and shrieks against its debasement of women in clever and compelling ways. Co-Produced by Andy Starke (In Fabric) and Pete Tombs (Free fire), with an unforgettable score by Jim Williams (Possessor, Raw), Kriya is a strange and wondrous nightmare odyssey of ritual magic. It demands to be met on its own terms and rewards the curious with unexpected charms. Light a candle and prepare yourself.
Kriya is a genre-driven arthouse film, which sets out to subvert Hindu ritual tradition, exposing its debasement of women. It is the nightmare odyssey of a young DJ named Neel who is picked up one fateful night by the beautiful, free-spirited Sitara, only to be thrust into a hallucinatory world of magic and transgression surrounding the imminent death of her father. In India, patriarchal custom dictates that a male offspring perform a parent’s last rites. However, in the absence of any male relative, Sitara desperately seduces Neel to step in and do the needful, when her father eventually passes away during the course of the night. Neel’s initial reluctance to officiate the ritual relents, giving way to an urgent desire to save Sitara and her kid sister Sara from the ancestral curse that afflicts their family. But there seem to be darker forces at work, conspiring to implicate Neel in the ultimate downfall of Sitara’s clan. Sucked deeper and deeper into this waking nightmare, Neel is reminded of his own traumatic past. Unravelling, he performs a bizarre subversion of the death ceremony, only this time - left becomes right, north becomes south, and holy Ganges water is replaced by human blood. Trapped in the crosshairs of Sitara’s family dynamics, Neel is doomed to confront his own troubled past and transforms, becoming the embodiment of the patriarch, the very source of Sitara's suffering...
Written and Directed by Sidharth Srinivasan
Producers: Sidharth Srinivasan, B. S. Narayanaswamy, Tejash Shah
Co-Producers: Andy Starke, Pete Tombs
Cast: Navjot Randhawa, Noble Luke, Avantika Akerkar, Sudhanva Deshpande, Anuradha Majumdar, Kanak Bhardwaj
Production Companies: Reel Illusion Films, Accord Equips Pvt. Ltd.
Co-Production Company: Mondo Macabro
Cinematography: Karan Thapliyal, Lakshman Anand
Editor: Rwikjit Roy
Sound Designer: Debangshu Roy
Music Composer: Jim Williams
Running Times ; 95 minutes
(source : press release)