|Raindance Film Review: Corrode (Kshay)|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Monday, 01 October 2012 16:08|
Director: Karan Gour
Chhai (Dugal) and Arvind (Sangal) live together in a shoebox apartment in Mumbai. They struggle to make ends meet, but they’re happy. That is, until Chhai spots an unfinished statue of Lakshmi, the Hindi goddess of prosperity. A painful encounter with a tiny rock later and Chhai has a mark on her face – and a psychological scar that keeps on growing.
“I need my Lakshmi” she cries, oblivious to that fact that she’s clearly obsessed. The price of her obsession? 15,000 rupees. With Arvind still owed 3,000 from his tight-fisted property developer boss, it’s way out of their reach. But that only drives Chhai even further. It is because the statue did something to her? Is it because she can’t have kids? Is it simply because she’s mental?
Karan Gour’s slow-burn script never really answers the question – a decision that both frustrates and intrigues. What he does give us, though, is a whole horde of incredible visual tricks. Expertly blending practical effects with eerie, unsettling sounds, Gour goes for it like a man possessed. The camera leaps into disembodied POVs, flying around the set with terrifying energy. Then the set disappears altogether, leaving Chhai talking to a giant version of herself. And then, once we’re really freaked out, he brings on body-horror worthy of a young David Cronenberg.
Combined with the film’s stark black and white cinematography, the effect is really quite stunning: there’s no hint of low budget at all. But that lack of explanation still niggles, leaving us with nothing but Rasika Dugal’s intense lead performance to engage with. A dragging pace and unexpected tangent in the final act doesn’t help quell your doubt.
Alekh Sangal’s innocent husband sums it up best, walking in on a gibbering Chhai in their ruined family home. “What’s with this Lakshima?” he demands. “All this over a statue?” You’ll be asking yourself the same thing throughout. But thanks to Gour’s brilliant direction, Corrode will keep on chipping away until you give up - or give in.