If curiosity got the better of you, and you owned a telescope or binoculars, would you spy on your neighbors? Wheelchair-confined Jeffries (Jimmy Stewart) didn’t have anything better to do in “Rear Window” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954), and neither does Pinaki (Bernard White) in Anuj Majumdar’s film “Equation.” Pinaki is an astronomer who’s been analyzing the theory of entanglement. According to Pinaki’s research, the size of and distance between two objects is unimportant when it comes to the effects they can have on each other as well as the rest of the world. Incidentally, the implications of entanglement theory are also the film’s central point.
The film begins with a nod to Russian filmmaker and theorist Lev Kuleshov. During the late 19teens, when cinema was still in its technical, artistic, and ideological infancy, Kuleshov noticed that when people watch film clips that are edited together, there is always an assumed relationship between the shots. In “Equation,” the first shot reveals Pinaki looking through his telescope. The next shot is a close-up of an eye. Due to the Kuleshov Effect, you’ll think that Pinaki is looking at it. Majumdar soon reveals that the eye belongs to a middle-aged man who picks up a piece of paper. When the camera seamlessly cuts to the following shot, you’ll be under the impression that this sheet of paper is the same one the man was holding, but it isn’t. Again, the director informs us that the images are in fact not related.
It might appear that Majumdar is playing mind games with the audience, but he’s only reinforcing the entanglement theory and incorporating it into the body of his film. The rest of “Equation” explores how Pinaki becomes unintentionally entwined in the lives of not only his family, but also of strangers. Pinaki turns his telescope from a stargazing tool into an instrument of earthbound voyeurism one night as he spies his neighbor Mr. Finch (Paul Keith) engaging in mysterious activities outside and inside his apartment. Curiosity claims Pinaki and he cannot rest until he uncovers what’s really going in the middle-aged man’s residence. Pinaki convinces the designated mail courier of the apartment complex to be an accomplice. What they find is nothing either of them could’ve imagined. Pinaki might have thought that entanglement theory was primarily a quantum physics matter, but by the end of the film, he’s lived it.
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