Cleopatra may be known for her mysterious allure and milk baths, but Malayalam movie Myth of Kleopatra opens with a startling revelation. “After her death, Cleopatra’s body was not buried for three days, it was repeatedly raped day and night. My film is inspired from this scandalous legend, which can be true or false. This film is dedicated to the passion and power of women,” says M Adeyapartha Rajan, director.
Myth of Kleopatra spreads across three stories, connected by a common theme, but never intersecting each other. “There is no hyperlink, they are all autonomous parts with separate endings. While I was working on them as three individual projects, I felt a connection and didn’t want to repeat the same subject in different films,” says the director.
While female affliction forms the core of all three narratives, the first two share a more subtle and subdued idiom. “There has been umpteen cinematic takes on the theme of rape. But I am trying to see this through a sharp psychological perspective,” he adds.
Myth of Kleopatra is the tale of three women who share the same name and angst, but are placed in various milieus. “The underlying theme is that a person can commit a crime in his mind or fantasise a sin without actually executing it. He can molest a woman just looking at her crossing the road. This happens everyday,” he says. The first story, which is inspired from a real-life incident, is about an aging American missionary who comes to the Himalayas with his blind daughter. In the second episode, Sr Kleopatra, a nun from Kolkata, comes across an abandoned building In Mumbai where a handful of lunatics have sought shelter. The third part is a one-night thriller, a dark and gory tale of human trafficking.
The film ends with an arresting epilogue titled Eyes of a Butcher. It shows the sinister eyes of a man following a woman, lustful and hungry. “A brutal crime is getting plotted and executed inside the psyche, and the the whole film springs from this bitter reality,” Adeya adds.