mumbai

Ashish Avikunthak, Kalkimanthankatha (The Churning of Kalki), 2015, digital video, color and black-and-white, sound, 79 minutes.

Ashish Avikunthak

Chatterjee & Lal

Ashish Avikunthak, Kalkimanthankatha (The Churning of Kalki), 2015, digital video, color and black-and-white, sound, 79 minutes.

Set in a location with few distinguishing qualities, in lieu vague, Samuel Beckett’s spare, minimal Waiting for Godot (1953) is in many ways an ideal transcultural text, easily adaptable to different geographical, cultural, and linguistic contexts. Using the play’s basic premise—two men wander an apparent wasteland interminably awaiting the arrival of a third character—as a starting point, Ashish Avikunthak’s seventy-nine-minute film Kalkimanthankatha (The Churning of Kalki), 2015, transforms Beckett’s absurdist postwar “tragicomedy” into a subtle postcolonial reflection on the idea of God as absence, drawing on ancient Indian philosophical and religious treatises that prescribe acceptance of inaction, uncertainty, impossibility, and emptiness.

The film was shot in Super 16 and digital video in Allahabad during the 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela, a huge Hindu pilgrimage in which

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