Sacred Evil – A True Story
|Directed by||Abhigyan Jha,
|Produced by||Abhigyan Jha|
|Written by||Ipsita Roy Chakraverti (book),
Abhigyan Jha (screenplay)
|Music by||Claver Menezes|
|Distributed by||Percept Pictures Company|
Sacred Evil is an Indian supernatural/surreal film directed by Abhigyan Jha and Abhiyan Rajhans. It was released in 2006. Sacred Evil is about duality, exploring the premise that reality always has two sides. Where there is light, there is shadow.
Based on a true story from the case files of a real-life Wiccan, Ipsita Roy Chakraverti, Sacred Evil is the story of three women separated by a twenty-year-old secret: a nun, a Wiccan and a girl in search of her mother.
The nun is Martha, a 45-year-old withering woman who lives in a secluded convent in Calcutta. Even in the sanctuary of the Church, she is haunted by a specter that threatens her sanity. The Wiccan, Ipsita, is called upon by the unconventional Mother Superior to heal Martha's soul.
The task is difficult as Martha is reticent in talking about the events in her past. Using her skills as a healer and her training as a Jungian psychotherapist, Ipsita gradually opens the door to Martha's story of the one who haunts her.
An Anglo-Indian girl called Claudia grows up with the angst of not knowing her mother Maureen, alienated in her Indian surroundings by her blue eyes and blonde hair.
The story now goes back and forth as events from Claudia's life begin to intersect Martha's and Ipsita tries to sort out the tangled threads of the past and present. In her search for the lost Maureen, whom everyone says looked much like her, Claudia becomes obsessed with her mother's image. She begins to turn into her mother. Like her, she seeks out and falls in love with a foreigner, Pierre, a young Frenchman who is in Calcutta for a doctorate. But Pierre is never sure who is in love with him, Claudia or Maureen.
As she tries to heal Martha with centuries-old Egyptian rituals of the Wicca, Ipsita learns of Claudia's struggle to keep her sanity and Martha's attempts to save her soul — how she tried hard to bring her to the Church and let God heal her. Ipsita also learns that somewhere the attempts failed. Something happened. Claudia's burden became Martha's. With her own efforts failing to heal Martha's spirit, Ipsita is led to a startling discovery in the end which makes her wonder if the sacred will ever be as strong in us as the evil is.
Cast and crew
- Sarika ... Ipsita
- Lynsey Pow ... Claudia and Martha
- Frédéric Andrau ... Pierre
- Directed by Abhigyan jha and Abhiyan Rajhans
- Writing credit: Ipsita Ray Chakraverti (book), Abhigyan Jha and Mrinal Jha (screenplay)
- Produced by Sahara One Motion Pictures
- Executive Producer: Undercover Productions (Abhigyan Jha)
- Original Music: Claver Menezes
- Cinematography: Ivan Kozelka
- Film Editing: Sanjib Datta
- Costume Design: Darshan Jalan
- Make Up: Vikram Gaikwad
- Original English Lyrics: Abhigyan Jha
Critical and commercial
Upon its release, the movie received mixed reviews from critics and was compared to Satyajit Ray's work. Lyrical and haunting — Sacred Evil is a far cry from Bollywood fare. It is the first Indian English film that stars actors from France and England in leading roles.
Commercially the film fared poorly as it was released without proper context by Percept Picture Company in India; it has still not been released in Europe, USA and Canada — the markets for which the film was made. The Indian audience found it difficult to grasp the conflict between the church and the Wiccan and the subdued and surreal drama. A lot of people in India refer to Sacred Evil as a horror film though it is not in the horror genre. It deals with the paranormal, but it is more about alienation and loneliness and how strange life can be than ghosts and goblins.
The Catholic Secular Forum demanded a separate screening of the film as they said that it promoted witchcraft and violence and indoctrinated the people in evil. There were warnings of possible arson and violence.
- "'Sacred Evil' a no-no for non-believers". Monsters and Critics. 2006-06-03. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- Mishra, Anshika (2006-05-29). "The ‘faithful’ will watch Sacred Evil - Mumbai - DNA". Dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- "Sacred Evil : Movie Review". Glamsham.com. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- "Sacred Evil: Promo Watch". Bollywoodhungama.com. 2006-05-04. Retrieved 2010-08-05.
- Mishra, Ankit (2006-05-16). "Catholic groups now target ‘Sacred Evil’ - Entertainment - DNA". Dnaindia.com. Retrieved 2010-08-05.