A mentally fragile woman becomes consumed by her desire for a special statue of the goddess Lakshmi in “Corrode,” a visually striking psychological drama about obsession sometimes reminiscent of Roman Polanksi’s “Repulsion.” Filming in black-and-white widescreen, Indian multihypenate Karan Gour imbues his debut feature with a feeling of inexorable doom through surreal dream sequences and unsettling sound design. Four years in the making, this low-budget, non-commercial indie pic reps a quality find for fests dedicated to experimental work, and could entice programmers of horror and fantasy.Petite, artistic Chhaya (Rasika Dugal, exceptional) and her construction-worker husband, Arvind (Alekh Sangal), are part of the cash-strapped lower-middle-class, living in a cramped Bombay apartment. Times are hard: Arvind’s opportunistic boss pleads poor and refuses to pay wages due, and Chhaya is still melancholy over a recent miscarriage. Her attraction to the near life-size unpainted sculpture is linked to a flying rock that draws blood from her cheek; later, that tiny cut morphs into strange body-horror images. When Arvind departs on an extended business trip, Chhaya’s obsession spirals out of control. Evocative tech work and effects belie the pic’s microbudget.
An Empatheia, Conjure Media and Arts production with 3rd Thought Entertainment. Produced by Karan Gour, Shaan Vyas. Executive producers, Adityavikram Gupta, Devesh Gour, Siddharth Bhatia, Vinay Mohindar. Directed, written, edited by Karan Gour.
Camera (B&W, widescreen, DV), Abhinay Khoparzi; music, Gour, Siddharth Bhatia. Reviewed at Chicago Film Festival (New Directors, competing), Oct. 11, 2001. Running time: 92 MIN.
Rasika Dugal, Alekh Sangal, Sudhir Pednekar, Adityavardhan Gupta, Nikita Anand, Asit Reij, Aswin Baluja, Siddharth Bhatia. (Hindi dialogue)