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Movie review: Deceased – based on the story "Lash" by Afroza Parveen
Religion and faith; is it what we believe or what we do? In a perfect world they would be synonymous but we do not live in a perfect world. The film Deceased (based on the story "Lash" by Afroza Parveen) questions this by depicting one man's struggle with the boundaries of his own faith and someone in need.

Rishi Das plays the character of "Ramesh", an untouchable Hindu man who discovers a dead girl and struggles against religious belief system to help her receive last rites. Directed by Pantha Rahman, Deceased was an official selection of numerous film festivals including: the 14th International Short and Independent Film Festival, Dhaka (Bangladesh), the 5th Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival (Katmandu, Nepal), the Indian Peacock International Film Festival, the Bucharest International Film Festival, and others.

The inner conflict and actions of Ramesh present the question that all those who subscribe to a belief system must ponder, when religion and religious leaders require us to abstain from offering aid to others…what do we do?

Ramesh is a Hindu man working as a janitor in a temple. He discovers the body of a dead girl. The plight of this youth reminds him of his younger sister whom Ramesh was unable to help when she passed away. He feels sympathy and compassion for the deceased girl and hopes that helping her will in some way be offered as an act of kindness that he was unable to give his own sibling. Ramesh soon finds that procuring someone to give last rites to her is a difficult ordeal. He visits several different religious leaders with hopes of persuading someone to perform last rites and give peace to the young girl's soul. Eventually his efforts lead to his own arrest.

The irony of the religious leaders' refusal to give aid in the storyline is as much implied as it is blatantly stated. Writer/director Pantha Rahman and editor/sound designer Aijia Li worked extensively together to craft and capture a world that was surrounded by the sights and sounds of theological focus and diversity. The three different religions and cultural differences are readily visible. Even with the common thread of faith, their differences are easily apparent. Aijia's extensive research in regards to the sights and sounds of these different faiths is obvious in their presentation, allowing them to often be heard as different before seeing their contrast. Pantha remarks, "The story shows how these different religions and their leaders are alike. It was very important to create a separate 'feel' for each of them in the film. Of course, we wanted to do so with respect. Aijia was so thorough in her investigation of the differences and similarities of these and was essential to manifesting these worlds for our film. Every director will tell you that working with an amazing editor allows their vision for a film to become even better than they originally hoped for. Our film was successful in creating the kind of uneasiness that leads the audience to question where responsibility lies. I'm incredibly happy about this as well as the overwhelming reception Deceased has been given."

A good film will entertain you. An excellent film will fascinate you but a truly great film will cause you to question yourself and things that you have passively accepted. Deceased places us in the painful experiences of Ramesh, all the while using this as a reflection for our own past, present, and future beliefs and actions.

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