Fantasia Digital Film Festival 2020
Last Showing: Saturday 29th, 23:15
Buy your virtual ticket here.
Reality is warped in New Delhi writer and director Sidharth Srinivasan’s Hindi-Indie horror flick, Kriya. This film mixes mysticism and devotion in a haunting tale about Sitara (Navjot Randhawa) introducing a man of her dreams to her family. It’s easy to see she’s a maneater. Or could she be Kyrie Eleison, that vixen found in the darkness of the night–the song from Mr. Mister? Though this bouncy song is about finding happiness, the lyrics can be given a darker meaning this movie crazily descends into,
When techno DJ Neel (wonderfully played by Noble Luke) takes an interest in this lady, the only thing he’s interested in spinning round and round is her. She’s no rat, but is A vixen who shows how love is a killer. She takes him home to meet the family. If that dilapidated mansion is not enough of a warning sign, that boy is in trouble!
In what he’s stumbled into is a moment steeped in ancient tradition. I’m sure what’s witnessed is made up, as it’s unusual to grieve for a patriarch bound in chains and slowly dying. The mother and aunt are grieving. The younger sister chides Sitara for going clubbing, dancing by herself and offering flesh for fantasy. she, however, tells the sibling she’s brought home a solution, in hopes to break a family curse. Just what purpose Neel serves is slowly made clear. He’s not so much of a sacrifice but rather a vassal of sorts.
To understand this film requires a crash course in knowing something of the culture of India. My intrigue comes from a general fascination of their mythology and how it defines existence, the state of being, and dharma.
This movie definitely deals with the role of men in this particular society. As for how well it reflects upon India as a whole in the modern sense, not everyone will necessarily know. Much of this country’s sordid past is tainted by traditions defined by gender roles.
Another aspect concerns the oppression the home represents. Srinivasan really delivers this aspect as Neel tries to get answers. He hears voices from within these walls. It’s as though the building is alive. The generations that lived there prior are not warning him. Instead, perhaps what we hear is a dying man’s desire and It’s evil.
Unlike the traditional haunted house trope where spirits demand that people get out, this movie shows how the family and their (ancestral) home wants them in, and therefore traps its victims. It’s rarely done in cinema. Until Sitara can find that individual that daddy dearest likes. There’s a way out, but as this film reveals, escape is not easy.