The Chosen One

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Sharma's film is almost un-Indian in its rapid pacing and tight narrative focus, but it couldn't be more culturally specific in subject. It's set in the Manipur Valley in NE India, and centres on the unique Maibi cult that flourishes in the area. Maibi are women who suddenly respond to some higher call, abandon their normal lives, and join the cult under a guru. The film explores one (fictional) case: a young woman named Tampha who deserts her husband and child and disappears into the cult. Sharma asks all the awkward questions. What does it mean to a mother to abandon her family? And what can a man do when he loses his wife to an impenetrable cult? The film doesn't pretend to explain the cult, but looks at its social repercussions through clear and searching eyes.

By: TR

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