“In Hindu custom, it is ritually prescribed that a son must perform his father’s last rites.” This sentence hangs on the screen, setting up for the rest of Sidharth Srinivasan’s Kriya, a film that subverts the sacred nature of the Indian family, the Hindu ritual tradition and highlights the patriarchal nature of these practices. When Neel (Noble Luke), a young DJ, meets Sitara (Navjot Randhawa) at a nightclub, he is surprised when she brings him to her home where her father is dying. Neel is then forced into an unexpected situation filled with hallucinations and dark forces.

After being troubled by the patriarchal themes particularly within the Hindu funeral ceremony rituals, Srinivasan set out to expose these customs on screen. What makes this film truly haunting is the utter slowness in which the rituals are performed, and due to the incredible sound design from Debangshu Roy, the viewer can hang on to every small sound in order to focus on what is being done. 

There is such a heavy focus on the rituals and the misogyny intertwined within them, and although the subtle changes to these rituals may only be noticed by those familiar with Hindu practices, you are still able to tell something is very off because of the superb performances within the film. The claustrophobic nature of a film that takes place in one setting for almost its entirety requires the performances within it to really shine, and Reel, Randhawa, Avantika Akerkar, and Kanak Bhardwaj truly live up to this task.   

Kriya forces the viewer to feel just as confronted with these rituals as the director himself, in a way that is meant to disturb. This is a very important critique on the prevalent misogyny that still exists within some traditions.



CAST: Navjot Randhawa, Noble Luke, Avantika Akerkar, Sudhanva Deshpande, Anuradha Majumdar, Kanak Bhardwaj

DIRECTOR: Sidharth Srinivasan

WRITER: Sidharth Srinivasan

SYNOPSIS: A young DJ named Neel is picked up one night by Sitara and is thrust into a hallucinatory world of ritual magic.