So Yesterday Guilmero del Toro’s “The Shape Of Water” won the Best Picture Award at the Oscars. Where everyone is going gaga about this cinematic story of a mute girl falling in love with a creature which can be called as an “Amphibian Man”, I was wondering whether the writers Abhishek Banerjee and Prosit Roy can actually see the similarities with the Oscar Winner?
Before you jump to conclusions, I want to make it clear. I don’t think both films inspired each other. They are completely separate and independent piece of art developed without knowing the content of each other. The production of “Pari” started in June 2017 so it must have been written/conceived almost a year ago. Whereas “The Shape Of Water” released in December 2017 (In India it got released very recently). But Why am I thinking so in the first place? Well, you may or may not agree with the idea of “Creative Co-incidence” in this case but there is no harm and in thinking that “Yes! It’s not that complex a story which can’t be conceived by two creative minds at the same time?”
Here are my points (SPOILER ALERT) –
1. The “Monster” or “Creature”– Both the movies have a creature which is not a human being. In Pari it is Ruksana played by Anushka Sharma who is the daughter of a “Jinn” and in “The Shape Of Water(TSOW)” it is the asset or the Amphibian Man captured from some remote area. In both movies, people are considering these creatures as “Monsters” whereas they both have a loving and humane side to their personalities. They both require certain things to survive. One needs water and one needs to take out her own poison. They both have some unique powers too and they both love food. Though in “Pari” this monster looks like a normal girl whereas in TSOW it looks like a Fish-Man. They both fall in love with fellow humans and even have sexual intercourse with them. Too much similarity? Well, let’s move ahead.
2. The Human- In TSOW- Sally Hawkins plays this mute girl Elisa who works as a cleaner in a Scientific Research facility have quite a lot common with the Parambrata Chatterjee’s character- Arnab in “Pari”. In the movie, Arnab plays a guy who never had friends. Who used to speak so less that his mother used to fear that one day he will lose his capability to speak. Sally Hawkins just does not has the capability to speak. She is already mute. They both play underdogs and loners and they both have soft corners for the misfits. That is the reason that they both give space to the “monsters” in their house and eventually falls in love with them. Though Elisa turns out to be braver than Arnab and hence goes an extra mile to save the creature.
3. The Human Antagonists- The antagonist TSOW Richard Strickland played by Michael Shannon and Professor Qasim Ali Played by Rajat Kapoor have striking similarities. Qasim Ali’s eye was damaged by the mother of Ruksana (Anushka Sharma) whereas Strickland’s fingers have been damaged by the amphibian man. They both are quite strong headed in their thought process and they both want to torture this creature. They both believe that the creature has no rights for the sympathy of humans. Their way of working is also so similar. Torturous and unethical. They both face the same fate in the respective movies.
4. The Story- Though the storyline is not that similar. One starts from a scientific facility and other starts in Jungle nearby Kolkata. The similarity lies in the fact that the humans try to save and nurture the creatures and the delicate bond that develops between them. Though the end of both the movies is far apart, this one thing covers the major screen time.
One can call this comparison absolutely absurd and it may be. But what I would love to call it is – Synchronicity or Creative Co-incidence, which is not that uncommon in our day to day life if we see. One may not be able to like Pari as much as The Shape of Water but the reason for it is simple. Pari is portrayed as a “Horror Flick” and has its pros and cons attached to the genre whereas “The Shape Of Water” is more like a drama with a happier ending in comparison to it’s Indian counterpart. “Pari” may not be a perfect film but it is definitely a film which pushes the envelope just like Shape of Water. It tries to bring the “Other” side. Anushka could choose a more commercial story and Prosit could have utilized the glam attached to the actor but they choose otherwise and hence the makers (Anushka & Prosit Roy) should be appreciated for this effort.