"Bokshu, the Myth" hits every cliche in the book, yet still gets across some sense of the power of myth over human life. Helmer Shyamaprasad assembles a remarkably uneven cast to illustrate simplified tantric yoga and rituals, and the narrative trappings are on the level of a 1950s comic book of supernatural tales.

A colorful if highly artificial tale of mystical India featuring a man able to transform himself into a tiger, “Bokshu, the Myth” hits every cliche in the book, yet still gets across some sense of the power of myth over human life. Helmer Shyamaprasad assembles a remarkably uneven cast to illustrate simplified tantric yoga and rituals, and the narrative trappings are on the level of a 1950s comic book of supernatural tales. Lurid and piquant, it could conceivably grab the fancy of undemanding fans of B-movie exotica and adventure yarns.

When American anthropologist Prof. Metcalf (Steven Berkoff) vanishes in the Himalayas, his headstrong Californian daughter (Heather Prete) goes to search for him. With her clunky b.f. (David Millbern), she stumbles onto an abandoned Shangri-La where a dashing, red-eyed Tantric yogi (Irfan Khan) does penance with a delectable maid servant (Nandana Sen) to lift an ancient curse about a bokshu, or man-eating tiger who is really a man — and guess who it is. Silly stuff, were it not for unexpectedly powerful perfs by Khan and Berkoff that bring the whole thing to life, along with Torben Fosberg’s lush, dreamy camerawork.

Bokshu, The Myth

India

Production

An Arjun Creations production. Produced by M. P. Somaprasad. Co-produced by P.N.C. Menon. Directed by Shyamaprasad. Screenplay, Shyamaprasad, Richard Stanley, Sashi Warrior, based on a novel by Ganga Prasad Vimal.

Crew

Camera (color), Torben Fosberg; editor, Sreekar Prasad; music, Louis Banks; production designer, Thota Tharani. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 22, 2006. English dialogue. Running time: 116 MIN.

With

Steven Berkoff, Irfan Khan, Heather Prete, David Millbern, Nandana Sen, Harish Patel, Vineeth.

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