Very rarely do you see as many as 11 filmmakers collaborating for a single film. ‘X: Past Is Present’ has been directed by 11 filmmakers who come from different backgrounds. While Rajshree Ojha, Anu Menon, and Suparn Verma have made fairly commercial films in the past, filmmakers like Q, Pratim D. Gupta, Hemant Gaba, Sandeep Mohan, Thiagarajan Kumararaja, and Abhinav Shiv Tiwari are associated with offbeat cinema. While Suparn, Sudhish, and Pratim have worked as film critics in the past, the film marks the debut of critic Raja Sen.
K/Kishen (Rajat Kapoor), a filmmaker comes across a spunky young woman (Aditi Chengappa) who reminds him of the several women he had been involved in his life. The meeting triggers off memories of his past relationships and as the film progresses, in a non-linear fashion, the viewer gets a glimpse into the life of the filmmaker who based several of his films on the experiences he had with these women.
11 filmmakers take charge of a section each and the result is a film that interests you but only in parts. Out of all the stories, the one featuring Kishen and a girl whom he never gets to meet in person. Another episode that features Huma Qureshi is fairly engrossing. The concluding episode (Biryani) does hit you but the twists come across as rushed up. The shock value is almost forced at you. The rest of the episodes, while far from being unwatchable, do not seem to serve many purposes. The conversations between K and the girl, in the present, seem interesting in the beginning but lose steam thereafter.
Though the character of the older K, has its limitations, Rajat Kapoor plays it very well. Anshuman Jha offers a layered performance as the younger K. The actresses have been cast well. Swara Bhaskar, Huma Qureshi, Aditi Chengappa, and Parno Mitra are the ones that leave the maximum impact.
‘X: Past Is Present’ is a brave experiment but one that works only in parts. Even though the directors (and the editors) have made an effort to ensure the film has a seamless progression, it comes across as disjointed at several places. Having said that, those into the experimental genre, who are fed up with the routine Bollywood offers, will appreciate the movie as a whole, due to its visual treatment and story handling. While certain episodes in the film pique your interest as a viewer, a majority of them fail to arouse interest.