Hardcore and at times sexually explicit, Asshole has more in common with contemporary Indian art and rap culture than the cinematic traditions of the country. In this rollercoaster ride where few social taboos are left unbroken, we meet 20-year-old Gandu (slang for asshole), who lives with his single mum in a dingy Kolkata flat. She has turned to sex work to make ends meet and has a regular client whose discarded trousers Gandu regularly steals money from. Gandu’s frustrated life revolves around an internet café where he surfs videogames and porn. Returning home one day, he crashes into a young rickshaw driver who is heavily into Bruce Lee. Gandu confides in Rickshaw about his fantasy of becoming a rap star, Rickshaw in return introduces him to hard drugs, and together they run away, sliding into a dark fantasy world where angry rap lyrics melt into visitations by the goddess Kali and an alien sex-kitten. Gandu gets his big onstage break, but is this also a fantasy? Born to be a cult film, Asshole has a charged score, allegedly inspired by UK band Asian Dub Foundation. –BFI
Qaushiq Mukherjee (popularly known as Q) is an Indian film director known for his cult film Gandu. Mukherjee grew up in Kolkata and did his schooling from South Point High School. He is the founder and CEO of film production company, Overdose Joint. —Wikipedia
I watched this at the Berlin Film Festival, it felt like extremely teenage film-making, an extended music video. I suppose compared to the more classical modes of Bengali art filmmaking this is seen as 'radical' but it really felt shallow and trying too hard to be controversial 'cult' film. You can't intend to be 'cult', that has to happen naturally. I look forward to seeing more new work for calcutta though..
This is definitely the best film to come out of India this year. Explosive, imaginative, moving, urgent, youthful, anxious and poignant. Great acting and strong script. I will be looking for more work by this director.