LFF 2020: The Disciple – Review

Release Date – 30th April 2021, Cert – 15, Run-time – 2 hours 7 minutes, Director – Chaitanya Tamhane

A young musician (Aditya Modak) dedicates his life to performing Indian classical music, although finding little success

“If you walk this path learn to be lonely and hungry” says one of the voices that echoes around the mind of Sharad (Aditya Modak), a young man trying to make his way to success through performing Indian classical music. He strives to be just as great as the best of the best, in which he includes an elder singer who he performs as part of the limited supporting band with. And yet while many people turn up to such concerts when it’s competitions that Sharad takes part in, or personal recitals, the turn out is often low. And yet he finds himself dedicating his life to it, trying his best to ignore the number of negative comments that he overhears and sees online – both about him and the music he cares so deeply about; it’s seen as a dying genre.

Much of the film is taken up with extended scenes of the music being performed – Modak himself has a career forged in this, this is his feature debut as an actor, and he does a good job especially for starting out in a leading role. However, there are points when this can become a bit repetitive, giving the film a slightly lengthy feel – when it’s already a somewhat slow watch. The film is well intentioned, from all involved, and there’s a clear passion for the music – something which helps to carry the piece through and occasionally grab your attention during some of the more dramatic scenes, particularly in scenes where he considers his future and the likelihood of a proper career.

While trying to boost his name there are various other complications in his life. There are people around him facing illness, he’s struggling to bring money in; selling CD’s of his musical genre, there are complications with his Mum who lives far away, a number of hours away. Things pile up over the years that the film takes place over and yet in most instances such points aren’t touched on as much as they could be. They only add a touch to the main character and while you would like to see more the film is definitely focused on his dreams not being achieved again and again. And while there is some engagement it would likely be increased if the connection with the central figure was greater because of the greater potential emotional connection were dwelled upon just a bit more. However, despite the good intentions of the cast and crew; and a number of decent scenes and moments throughout the piece, there’s a slow feel to it which wouldn’t be so bad if there wasn’t more to get engaged with.

Despite the care for the subject matter from the entire cast and crew there’s unfortunately a need for a more detail in terms of side aspects of the film for a bigger emotional connection to the film and its protagonist which would prevent the final product from being quite so slow.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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