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Dug Dug – TIFF21

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Dug Dug – TIFF21

Synopsis:
Mysterious events in the wake of a freak motorcycle accident sow the seeds of a new religion.
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The inhabitants of a small Indian village begin to worship the motorcycle of a recently deceased man in . While riding his motorcycle through the Indian countryside, local drunk Thakur () crashes near a billboard for a magician and is promptly bisected by a passing truck. Thakur's motorcycle is recovered by the three local policemen Manfool (Durga Lal Saini), Pyare Lal () and Badri () and they are shocked when the motorcycle keeps returning to the site of Thakur's death, despite their attempts to chain it down. This results in the village beginning to worship Thakur and his motorcycle as a deity, which soon balloons into a full-blown religion.

Dug Dug is a religious satire from first-time Indian filmmaker Ritwik Pareek, the story of which is loosely inspired by real temples Pareek visited in the remote villages of Rajasthan, India. The worship of “Thakur Sa” begins rather modestly with a shrine to his motorcycle adorned with gifts of his favourite item – alcohol. However, as the villagers begin to receive good fortune, the donations increase with furor, turning “Thakurism” into a fully commercial enterprise.

With its tongue planted firmly in cheek, Dug Dug is a film that satirizes religious commercialism and blind faith, without actively seeking out to mock religious beliefs. There is no real central protagonist for Dug Dug, other than perhaps the worshiped motorcycle, however, one of the more prominent arcs for the film involves the police officer Pyare Lal, who is rightfully a skeptic right until a big reveal in the final moments of the film. In the end, Dug Dug is a completely absurd, yet funny religious satire showing that just about anyone (or anything) can be worshiped as a God.

Dug Dug is screening at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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