In the documentary Love in India, director Q (a.k.a. Kaushik Mukherjee) asks a lot of questions but never quite arrives at stable answers. What exactly is love in this country of the Kama Sutra? How can you reconcile the nation’s prudishness with its ancient preoccupation with sex?
Q explained himself at the International South Asian Film Festival, saying: “If we are brave enough to start asking questions, answers will emerge.” What the answers are I’m not quite sure, but his documentary takes a meandering journey without reaching any stable destination. The film delves into his own relationship with Rii and his friends’ takes on love and sex. He explores the myths of Krishna and Radha, two iconic lovers who still inform much of India’s art and culture today. And yes, there’s even some discussion of Bollywood.
Out of all the conversations Q showcased,the music that strangers and friends shared spoke the loudest. “For me,” Q said, “every film is a musical. I’m an Indian.” The songs demonstrated a cultural musing on love and intimacy, something that Q as an individual cannot show in his singular relationship. One audience member practically begged for a CD of the soundtrack.
Love in India still feels a bit raw, like a sentence without a period. Introspective, examining, illuminating, beautiful, intimate, yes. Driven and pointed? No. Perhaps that’s all intended, but for a topic that’s so abstruse, sometimes a little hand-holding goes a long way.