MCream: A 'Visual Treat' That Strikes a Generational Chord
Last night we went to see M cream. We went primarily because of our friendship with the director Agneya Singh’s family. Some fairly brutal reviews of the film in the Saturday papers had not really dampened our spirits. We knew some of the actors and musicians. We decided to set up our own tomatometer in the luxury of Director's Cut in Vasant Kunj's Ambience Mall. The lights dimmed and the screen became alive with soul searing music foregrounded by a rave party, located perhaps in one of the luxury farm houses of Delhi.
Figaro/Fig (Imaad Shah), a casual cynic, is hooked on dope, and drinks his liquid straight from the bottle which he freely passes around to any and everyone. Jayshree/Jay (Ira Dubey), a no frills beauty is a researcher driven by her mind and her convictions. She and Figaro seem incredibly wary of each other but as the film progresses their chemistry changes. Eventually we see Fig join her in a movement against destruction of forests. Jay on her part no longer baulks when she is offered a bottle or a joint. Niyaz/Niz (Raaghav Chanana), a handsome photographer, is in love with poetry. Meghna/Maggie (Aurita Ghosh), Fig’s friend and Niz’s lover has set herself joyfully free without falling into a chick-litty stereotype.
As the film progresses, we kept thinking of ourselves as the ‘Prufrocks’ of Eliot’s ‘Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock’. ‘I grow old, I grow old/ I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled!’ sings Prufrock. What were we doing in this intensely young film? The answer flashed in one sequence involving Figaro’s parents’ (Tom Alter and Lillete Dubey). We see their cheesy networking to find their dreadlocked son a placement in the corporate world. The world of the parents is hard to digest, the world of the youth is easy. We cheer Figaro when he mumbles a good bye to his parents and jumps into the jeep next to Maggie with his back pack, carrying bottles for the long journey ahead.
The film captures the zeitgeist of the late 1960s and 1970s BoBos’ taking us on a nostalgic journey back to the minutiae of lives we have left far, far behind. It has a contemporary life and energy too. For example, I often wonder where my 21 year old grandson has placed his stakes. I ask myself what matters to him and what does not. Maybe my precious belongings will matter to him, maybe not. I used to look at my library and regret that none of my progeny will have any use for my life's collection. After watching the film I felt that I was liberated from that burden. (Syeda)
In this ambitious tour de force, Agneya Singh has in his own way upheld the ideals of his family which has for generations fought for the very issues that he projects. The metaphor of search for the elusive king of dope, M Cream is reminiscent of the Theatre of the Absurd, deriving from an idea spelt out by Albert Camus in the 1940s, that in a world of shattered beliefs, life is without meaning. And yet the film brings out the issues facing the contemporary world-economic recession, unrest, poverty, ecocides.
The film is an eruption of creative talents. It is a visual treat. Bristling with one beautiful evocative moment after another, it sometimes takes on a ruminatively poetic tone. The music by a group of young composers Nikhil Malik, Srijan Mahajan and Arsh Sharma is outstanding. Their lithe, high-energy soundscape lingers much after the film is over.