Ship of Theseus filmmaker Anand Gandhi announces his new project Emergence, set in a post-pandemic world

Anand Gandhi unveiled his new film Emergence on the seventh anniversary of Ship of Theseus

FP Staff July 20, 2020 13:02:13 IST
Ship of Theseus filmmaker Anand Gandhi announces his new project Emergence, set in a post-pandemic world

Filmmaker Anand Gandhi unveiled a poster of his next project, Emergence, on the seventh anniversary of his film Ship Of Theseus on Sunday.

Talking about the project, Gandhi said: “In Ship of Theseus, the character Charvaka says, ‘The fungus enters an ant’s body through its respiration. It invades its brain and changes how it perceives smell because ants do everything they do from their smell of pheromones, right? So this microscopic little fungal spore then makes the ant climb up the stem of a plant and bite hard on a leaf, with an abnormal force’.

“The fungus then kills the ant, and continues to grow, leaving the ant’s exoskeleton intact. So, a small fungus drives an ant around as a vehicle, uses it as food and shelter and then as the ultimate monument to itself.

“And when the fungus is ready to reproduce, its fruiting bodies grow from the ant’s head and rupture, releasing the spores, letting the wind carry them to more unsuspecting food.

“There, our entire idea of free will down the bin. One single small fungus spore does that to an ant. You have trillions of bacteria in your body. How do you know where you end, and where your environment begins?”

Here is the poster

With this idea as the central question, Anand started writing Emergence in 2015.

“After five years of intensive research and writing, the project is now ready for production. It’s the ultimate distillation of all my life’s epiphanies and insights,” he said. In May, the filmmaker had said he wanted to cast Sushant Singh Rajput in the project, according to Indo-Asian News Service.

Previously, Gandhi had said that that it was Ship of Theseus that in a way led him to a pandemic story.

"In Ship of Theseus', I touched upon the idea that the human body is made up of eukaryotic cells and bacteria. I was fascinated by the thought that your every choice, your every experience, and your every feeling is influenced by the bacteria in your body.

"This was my entry point into this film. I contemplated what would happen if new viruses, bacteria, or microbes were introduced to the ecosystem that we call human. This question led me to a pandemic story," he added.

This was followed by Gandhi meeting some scientists and epidemiologists, including well-known American epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, who eventually came on board as an executive producer for his film Emergence.

"He is an amazing epidemiologist and a great thinker, Larry spearheaded the team that eradicated smallpox, and his work was an inspiration for the film Contagion.

"I had the good fortune of meeting him and sharing my thoughts with him. He loved the idea, and immediately came on board as an executive producer."

According to Gandhi, it is challenging to "consolidate" the complex ideas while making a film based on a science subject and still make the story accessible for the audience.

Asked if films such as Contagion, Virus, Pandemic had influenced him, the director said his approach to the subject was new.

(With inputs from agencies)

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