'M- Cream': Interesting but pretentious (Review By Troy Ribeiro, Rating: *)
Conceptually, Director Agneya Singh's maiden venture "M-cream", is an interesting road film, but fails to impress.
It mirrors India, through the eyes of four pseudo-intellectual friends who explore the mountains for a mystical "Hashish" called M-Cream. They travel from Delhi to Dharmasala and beyond, but instead of attaining solace through the drugs, they are hit by harsh realities of life.
The narration begins with a roving camera capturing a rave party where cigarettes, drugs, booze and sex are flowing liberally, in one of the farm houses on the outskirts of Delhi.
"Figs," short for Figaro (Imaad Shah) is chilling with his friends "Maggie," aka Meghna (Auritra Ghosh) and Niz (Raaghav Chanana) when he is introduced to Jay aka Jayshree Ghosh (Ira Dubey). Over a spirited and stoned conversation, sparks don't fly, but lays the foundation of what is in store ahead.
It is when Figs realises his parents are charting his life on a conventional mode, he gives them a slip by escaping on a road trip with his friends.
The quartet are rebels without a cause, yet hypocrites. Their rebellion and social activism is as superficial as the drugs they consume. It is only after the Moon Rave party, that realization starts dawning on them.
The script written Agneya Singh is an impassive, meandering narrative with verbose expositions that discuss; freedom, revolution, faith etc... The film is crafted like a soapbox lecture and you keep wondering where the narrative will lead to, till you realise that this is a slice of life film.
With dialogues like, "If food is for the mind, then LSD is food for the soul," or, "Are you afraid, Sweetheart? a Fear is the mother of morality," and "You try so hard to stand out but at the end of the day you are just another conformist," the messages about real life situations are literally packed in a pseudo tone and delivered in a theatrical and pretentious manner.
Also the characters may appeal to only a handful of audience.
On the performance front, the foursome portray their parts with perfection. They are aptly supported by; Tom Alter and Lushin Dubey as Figaro's parents, Barry John as the hippie Vishnu Das who offers them a good time in Dharamsala, Beatrice Ordeix, as the journalist turned activist Marie Sartre, who assists the villagers protest against a luxury hotel that threatens their displacement. They all essay their parts flawlessly.
On the technical front, Cinematographer Mingjue Hu's visuals have an assorted blend of frames and shots. Some of which are truly impressive, either merged or mounted with multi-frames on screen.
The background score elevates the mood of the subject, but the editing has some jarring edges.
Overall, watch the film only if you want to encourage new talent.
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A motley crew of university students set out on a journey in pursuit of a mythical form of hash, confronting a series of encounters that begin to unravel the myriad realities of rebellion.
FIGS is the typical cynic one finds lurking in the expansive lawns of Delhi University. Entangled in a web of drugged out delirium, he’s the quintessential rebel. His world is thrown into disarray when his conservative parents begin to chalk out a strategy for his future. Things only become worse when a sudden scarcity of hash deprives Figs of his favorite pastime. Unable to cope with the situation, Figs joins forces with his best friend MAGGIE on a quest to attain M Cream, a mythical form of hash. They hastily devise a plan to trek to the far reaches of the Himalayas in pursuit of this goal. Maggie ropes in her boyfriend NIZ, who’s purportedly headed to the hills on a photo assignment. Unbeknownst to Figs, the trio is joined by JAY, a close friend of Niz. Chaos ensues as the reckless travelers journey across the Himalayan expanse. The road trip results in a series of unexpected encounters that begin to unravel the myriad realities of rebellion. Difficult choices are made and uncomfortable sides are taken as Figs and the others begin to comprehend the mysterious ways of the world we live in.