Day #7 Of Lockdown: Arati Kadav’s Charming The Time Machine on MUBI

In a way, The Time Machine is that delicate coming-of-age movie that reminds you to stay young as long as you can.


It’s a week into the lockdown and one has never had so much time to sit and think about time. Seconds feel like hours, days like weeks, and weeks like months, and we’re still only getting started. So when one comes across a film titled The Time Machine, the gravitation towards it is understandable. Most of us, at some point in this period, have hoped to either fast forward to a time when all this is finally over or go back a few months to miraculously keep certain animals away from certain wet markets.

Read: Day #6 Of Lockdown: Kamal’s Meghamalhar

The protagonist of The Time Machine, a teenager named Chetan (an excellent Siddharth Menon), dreams of inventing a time machine, but we never really understand why he wants to do this. It’s not really his plan to make the world a better place or to make a lot of money from it. He probably just wants to invent one to travel the world across time periods, just for the heck of it. So when he brings home his girlfriend Mishti for the first time, they both enter his time machine and go on their own voyage (in a neatly animated sequence) to different worlds.

This period in Chetan’s life is special. At 15, he’s fallen in love for the first time and he’s about to experience everything that is good about growing up. In a way, The Time Machine is that delicate coming-of-age movie that reminds you to stay young as long as you can. This realisation strikes  Chetan when he learns that his time machine really works and he is visited by a certain someone from the future.

Shot beautifully by Vidyut Singh Jaswal with several nicely-composed frames within frames, the 40-minute film might just be the capsule we need to remind ourselves that even these boring times will go on to become invaluable, when looked back at, from the future. Life as we know it, is going to be divided into before and after Corona. But the “during Corona” phase needs to be experienced in its fullest as well.

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"Vishal Menon: Vishal dropped out of law school to focus on his fondness for film, particularly mainstream Indian cinema. He is a film critic, previously with The Hindu after a stint at Deccan Chronicle and Reuters News. If you thought the book was better than the movie, don’t tell Vishal.."
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