FILM | Goldfish
Goldfish deals with memory, music, mental health and identity. In Director, Pushan Kripalani’s second film, Anamika (Ana), the child of a mixed marriage, returns home to her estranged, elderly mother Sadhana; a neighborhood she barely remembers, and to a woman who sometimes doesn’t remember her.
Mother and daughter, strangers for over a decade, find themselves thrown together once again into a relationship that has always been difficult and damaging. Some of it was a by-product of their circumstance, some of it was deliberate. Ana thinks that she will resolve the situation in a few short days but is instead drawn deeper and deeper into Sadhana’s life and its strange peculiarities – a best friend who is also her worst enemy, a married lover, and a musical apprentice.
Written by Kripalani and Arghya Lahiri, Ana is forced to become several things, all at once: she is daughter and mother, caregiver, secretary, detective, shield and scalpel. Ana begins to discover a woman she never knew at home, alive in memory, in anecdote, in the music she doesn’t understand. The film, which was also photographed by writer/director, Kripalani, takes place over a single day; but that day is the distillation of the three months we see on screen, and of their whole lives.
Director Statement | Push Kripalani
Goldfish began as a film about dementia, identity and diaspora. As the script began to evolve, it became about the collision of two unreliable memories. And then the cast got involved and the film became one about community and the definition of family.
When the music emerged from the collision of the lyrics and two cultures, it began to shape the palette of the piece. To my delight, we were able to watch the whole, the sum of the parts, come together on the edit table. It moves from an obvious, pragmatic solution, to the need to take a difficult decision, drenched in uncertainty, but with love and duty at the core.
When we are ephemeral, do we still exist in other people? Are we the sum of our memories alone? Are we alone? When we are from different places and times, can we matter to one another? Can we know ourselves if we do not know where we are from?
These are the questions the film seeks to address by looking closely at the relationship between two complicated women, both trying to navigate the filigree of their own past and present. Every decision leading to this moment. Goldfish is about forgiveness. About retaining humanity in the face of the inevitable. It is about love.
~ Pushan Kripalani
Pushan Kripalani’s first film, The Threshold , was acclaimed during its short festival run, garnering praise at MAMI, the NFDC Film Bazaar and winning Best Actor and Best Actress at the New York Indian Film Festival. An English production, it screened on Channel 4 in the UK and is currently streaming on Disney+. As cinematographer, Kripalani has filmed several features, ads, documentaries and shorts; working with Shyam Benegal, Ram Madhvani and Zafar Hai.