Ritwik Pareek’s “Dug Dug,” asks how culture can turn its worries into supernatural secrets, answering hoarsely. After a motorcycle accident in Rajasthan, India, leaves people dead, the motorcycle he captured mysteriously reappears. Locks and the chains that don’t help, and local villagers are drawn to this oddity.
As are many criminals – resulting in a strange new religion. The film is quite effective as a social satire. However, it is primarily managed as a dizzying jumble, ripped at the seams with vivid detail and musical energy. And inherits some of its fair share of developments from Hollywood’s big names.
Indian cinema is something which is no stranger to Western influences.
But Pareek’s debut has recombined multiple influences to create something entirely Indian instead of stealing massive history. “Great!” A number (at least in the subtitles) was said, followed by multiple-scale crashes in the many locks, locks, and safes that should have tied up the rogue bike. He plays something like Sam Raimi’s horror-comedy The Evil Dead.
Still, even though Parik works in a different genre. The supernatural elements are ambiguous – he lets those visual accents serve as part of his building secret. The film is filled with other familiar features.
Edgar Wright’s comedic setting here, a bit of pastel and Wes Anderson symmetry (Pareek’s production company even called Bottle Rocket Pictures). However, the inspiration is straightforward and doesn’t overwhelm the film.
The opening minutes of this film feel unique and prevent the emergence of new stubborn, independent voices. Parik follows middle-aged Thakur (Altaf Khan) on his drunken motorbike. Through streets shrouded in night mist and halogen laundry in his long prologue. The plot begins with the Thakur incident.
But the first ten or fifteen minutes of the film are devoted to wooing the audience with hypnotic images. Verses about alcohol, prayers to outer space and crying on an electric guitar. The incident took place beneath a ghost-painted billboard, evoking the exotic magic of P.P. Charm.
A clear post from the famous Indian magician P.K. Sorcar marks the beginning of the film’s mystical feel.
Like a billboard with an assistant torn in half, Thakur’s fate is bloody. And although Pareek doesn’t give us any visual details, his bubbling sound makes his stomach churn.
The incident feels even more disturbing than his fate experienced by Pareek’s camera in Shar. Images of magicians gazing down at the stage douse this direct path. With eerie energy, marking the blurring of the lines between religion, superstition, and carefully crafted illusions.
After three local police officers found Thakur’s motorbike at the scene the following day, they set off for the race. Intrigue grew, as did the number of curious onlookers as more and more people heard rumours about the magic machine. Consulted local religious and political leaders about what this meant and what the community should do in response. How do you actually react to something that cannot explain?
In India, one of the most religious countries globally (and with widespread rural poverty).
A ritual is usually followed by a wish for happiness. The Mumbai freshwater incident in 2006 is remembered. When thousands flocked to drink sacred seawater that mysteriously turned sweet. Despite official warnings about digestive ailments. The ritual in Parek’s film is not particularly dangerous but has an equally dark quality. Believers everywhere wash magic motorbikes with bottles of alcohol. And refer to the recently deceased Thakur as if he were a saint of martyrs.
Before long, the scene turns into a tourist spot filled with local balloon dealers. Whose balloons become surreal as the film progresses. As if to fit the rotating scale of the celebrations. When you think this motorcycle-oriented religion is over, it becomes even more inconceivable until the surrounding landscape becomes recognizable. As more poor people passed by in hopes of blessings. More and more rich people took advantage of them. And religious symbols and political processions began to mix.
Film usually doesn’t look any more profound than the texture of this premise.
There are few (if any) times when his desperate and downtrodden character. Which feels he has a lot of depth or willpower beyond Parik’s general critique. The film treats the idea of vertical social strata as little more than the background. At the same time, further exploration in this particular context. Which could lead to a more thorough and gruesome exploration of the forces at work.
While it feels like a missed opportunity to eat the satire on India’s political and social-religious lines, this film undeniably has insane energy. Filming is often whimsical – the funniest moments emerge from unexpected cuts and puzzling whips – but just as often builds up energy and intensity to the point of being as weird and exciting as the cult at its centre.
Backed by continuous jazz (by Salvage Audio Collective) and a series of modern percussion montages (edited by Bijith Bala), Dug Dug captures the ever-increasing scale. It moves with wild inertia that observes and embodies the lust for sensation. When he finally caught his breath to look back at the big picture himself, he found it very helpful.