Roshan Mathew plays Sagar. Jim Sarbh appears as Rakesh. Puja Sarup is the storyteller. Sahitya Akademi Award recipient Mahesh Dattani is the weaver who weaves a real moment through the virtual mirage of screens, myths and prejudices. Good old narration lays out the futuristic setting of 2032 where the pandemic that started in 2020 has revisited twice over. In my mind, Untouchable lends a new definition to a writer’s imagination- his/her ability to redefine the present. The present reality of contained Dharavi and the spraying of disinfectant on migrant workers in Uttar Pradesh finds a logical extension in Dattani’s premise. Fact meets fiction in a fantastical world and forces the e-audience to stare hard at their reality.
Fact meets fiction in a fantastical world
Film is often considered the superior evoker of multiple senses. Not if you were acting out Dattani’s script. The desire to touch is made tactile by its mere utterance. The aromatic lavender oil and the scented sandalwood powder and the stink of fish have never felt more potent and provocative. This drama of desire builds in intensity when the olfactory and the tactile crash against the social waves of caste and class. The French-windowed and sea-facing balconies of the rich versus the cocooned, claustrophobic basti of the poor put into perspective, the view from the top. The present experience of untouchability in the Corona era intersects with the past prejudice of caste-based untouchability. The digital audience is left thinking- if the social barriers are shattering, shifting or merely assuming new shape?