Rahat Mahajan’s ‘Meghdoot – The Cloud Messenger’ is a beautifully imagined tale of a love that transcends time

Spoilers ahead…

The actors don’t give performances in the way actors usually do. They enact a series of still lifes, while the “acting” is left to the Theyyam, Kudiyattam and Kathakali dancers.

The simplest way to describe Rahat Mahajan’s Meghdoot (The Cloud Messenger) is as a timeless love story, and the film’s biggest achievement is that it keeps us adrift in this sense of… timelessness. From the colours to the locales, from the micro-directed gestures and performances to the runic dialogues – everything seems both ageless and of our age. It is elemental. Take the love story between Tarini and Jaivardhan from centuries ago. The screen is painted in earth colours of orange and brown. And when we see the same pair reincarnated in the modern day, in a posh residential school, the uniforms are blue: we get sky colours. And both segments are awash with water, whether a river or a swimming pool. There’s a tangential reference to the Kalidasa epic of the same name, where a yaksha was separated from his wife. This Meghdoot is suffused with a similar sense of longing.

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