The first Indian film to do a wide use of traditional music it was a masterpiece like Jalsaghar (1958), also known in Italian by the title The music room, made by the master Satyajit Ray between the second and third episode of the even more memorable Trilogy of Apu.
Certainly it is not easy for the Western viewer to approach such a different and seemingly anonymous singing style, which in its classical conception sets itself the task of freeing the soul from bad thoughts and leading to a state of asceticism, so widespread in this culture. For this The Disciple is a work to approach with curiosity and without prejudice, ready to discover unprecedented sounds for the majority of Western audiences.
The script seeks to update concepts so deeply rooted in the aforementioned environments to the modern world, with the temptation of talent show and YouTube to spread in every latitude the passion and perseverance of those who still believe in an art or an ideal apparently unrelated to time.
Dreams and reality
Young Sharad dreams of becoming among the greatest exponents of traditional music of his country, India. This is to pursue his father's teachings and to find his own place in the world, despite being well aware of how certain genres are now outdated with respect to contaminations. pop resulting from foreign influences.
Sharad perseveres, convinced of his choice, but when his mind is filled with doubts, it is also his voice that is affected: the lack of inspiration and inner peace considerably worsen his singing and the lack of recognition at some themed competitions only increase doubts and uncertainties about not being up to par.
In search of one's own emotional stability, with the passage of time Sharad will have to understand what to do with his life and realize how much the objectives set by him coincide with the effective awareness of existing.
A particular voice
In competition at the 2020 edition of the Venice Film Festival, The Disciple is now available as original in the Netflix catalog, thus being able to aspire to wider audiences in its attempt to offer a glimpse of a reality usually restricted to national borders.
After the acclaimed debut of Court (2014), capable of attracting the attention of Alfonso Cuarón who wanted him as a collaborator on the set of Rome (2018), Chaitanya Tamhane threw himself body and soul into a story that he absolutely wanted to tell: the first page of the script was the most difficult step, so much so that it took almost two years to make it, while the rest was completed in just 22 days.
And it is not difficult to understand why, since the narrative needed to that sudden blaze, of that moment that definitively unlocks the actual soul of the story, in a parallelism that is more than ever in keeping with the personal stories of the protagonist.
The two hours of viewing are not simple, they require a certain commitment and the desire on the part of the viewer to accept melodies that are not suitable for each eardrum - in fact, music plays a preponderant role also in the playing time - but if it is possible to overcome these obstacles, The Disciple can give you various satisfactions.