Film Review: Feast Of Varanasi

A dark fable for modern times

Posted: 06.03.16

Uncomfortable viewing from the start, the debut feature film by Director Rajan Kumar Patel is a firey mix of thriller, horror and fantasy. Set in one of India’s most ancient cities, Varanasi is a place of death where 24 hours a day burning ghats are alive with the buzz and spectacle of funerals. Using this is a starting point to inspire a tale of murder, mystery and mysticism, the story follows the unexplained deaths of four local girls. The police, with help from a visiting Inspector (played by Adil Hussain) set out to solve the crimes. At the same time, Helen (Holly Gilbert) a young teacher from England, arrives in Varanasi to stay with her aunt, following the death of her mother. Her own story becomes embroiled in the search for the murderer as she herself becomes a target.

Imaginative and unexpected, the story reels in the viewer through the engrossing storytelling while the outstanding backdrop of Varanasi fulfills the audience’s visual appetite. Shrouded in the shadows of death, each character confronts their own demons and desires, which later become central to the situations they face.

An independent Indian production Feast Of Varanasi is a taste of alternative Indian cinema while the story gives an alternative view on things. The deaths although viewed as crimes, are also presented as an ‘alternative’ viewpoint on conventional life, and this is what makes the film so interesting; it tells a story that popular, mainstream cinema would be too afraid to - Western cinema steers away from 'cultural beliefs', while Indian cinema is never afraid to explore them.

The cast includes strong support roles from Tannishtha Chatterje who plays a female police officer whose own story is intriguing enough to warrant a spin-off to the movie.

For fans of the crime genre, Feast of Varanasi is a satisfying and intelligent watch, while for everyone else, it is a clever and creative film that will provide welcomed relief from the conventional movies you find at your cinema on a typical week, so make the choice: check out something different and prepared to be rewarded.

Feast Of Varanasi is released in the UK on 11th March 2016.
Find out more about the film:
Watch the trailer here. 

Momtaz Begum-Hossain

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