Anup Singh’s “The Song of Scorpions” has a rhythmic pacing which is synced with the undulating sands and the region of Thar Desert, Rajasthan. While the most mesmerizing aspect is its Cinematography by Pietro Zuercher and Carlotta Holy-Steinemann, it becomes so mesmeric in its cinematic atmosphere making the film as timeless tale.
Amol Palekar’s “Paheli” is one memorable film set beautifully in the desert of Rajasthan but Anup Singh’s film goes beyond it though with few scriptural problems. Anup Singh’s previous film “Qissa: A Tale of a Lonely Ghost” was a successful venture due to its unique storytelling- here, he takes a simple route accompanied and uplifted by technically brilliant aspects of direction, production design and cinematography.
Nooran (Golshifteh Farahani) is learning the ancient art of healing from her grandmother (Waheeda Rehman), a scorpion-singer. Aadam (Irrfan Khan), a camel trader, falls in love when he hears her sing. But before long, Nooran is poisoned by a treachery and must undertake a journey to avenge herself and find her song. Following a path of folktale, the film divulges into the areas of love, humiliation, pain and forgiveness. But there is a sense of melancholy throughout the reigns and ruins of the Screenplay, might be because of the slow desert life.
The melancholic nature of the desert and its undulating golden sand dunes is quite slow in its approach, it takes time to sync with the characters and the story. But once it does (happens much later), it engulfs into the reins. With many contradictory images like camels running with a car, in the remote area passing of trucks and cars can be heard- while it is blurs the lines of being thoroughly modernistic world, it flatters itself with high-end aspects of storytelling. Its a story told in a different form, more of a Shakespearean-way, other than than its the same story.
Irrfan Khan has relished upon his character like Othello and delivers an impeccable performance. With each Irrfan Khan film leveling up the expectations, I’m falling short of the words and the repetitive adjectives seem doing injustice. Golshifteh Farahani who plays Nooran with her soul-stirring performance will leave Indian Actress run for their lives. Farahani is an Iranian Actress who plays a Rajasthani at ease- watch out for the intense close-ups. Nargis Fakhri and Katrina Kaif should be already taking notes. It was such a delight to watch Waheeda Rehman again on the big screen.
“The Song of Scorpions” may not be among Anup Singh’s best works but a delightful folktale told in a ravishing cinematic way. While the audience gave a huge applaud and started leaving the auditorium, I waited back for the credits to end- to hear the rhythmic and class Background Score. Score by Béatrice Thiriet is fused with contemporary and regional classical, it is used appropriately and creates impact when the script fails. Probably, it is a resonating film which stands as a metaphor for the wounds of real world and the poisonous happenings around us, like bomb blasts, lynching, etc. Madan Gopal Singh’s traditional songs are soothing to heal the wounds.
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