The Hungry is a modern retelling of Titus Andronicas set in India. The rival generals have been replaced by two families of business men and women. At the start of the film the youngest son of the Joshi family, Ankur (Suraj Sharma) is murdered and made to look like a suicide. His mother, Tulsi (Tisca Chopra) and brother Chirag (Antonio Aakeel) plan revenge on the ruthless head of the rival Ahuja family, Tathagat (Naseeruddin Shah).
The families fight with each other, inflicting injuries on either side, seeking retribution and plotting each other’s downfall, all under the guise of a marriage between Tulsi and Tathagat’s son Sunny (Arjun Gupta). The scheming and manipulation of the two families are very exciting. Shakespeare’s riveting plot has survived the translation well.
What’s new to this staging is the beautiful visuals care of costume designer Sheetal Sharma and production designer Aradhana Seth, all beautifully shot by cinematographer Nick Cooke. Certain images have remained with me long after the viewing, such as a family of goats consuming an abandoned banquet. The violence of the film is shocking and upsetting.
Occasionally things lapsed into melodrama. The actors gave memorable and distinctive performances, but often they felt less than natural. This may have been due to a number of the cast speaking English in a myriad of accents, all within the same family.
I was pleased to see some scenes referencing Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. In one of the climactic scenes the set design and music by Benedict Taylor seems like a deliberate echo of the climax of Greenaway’s film.
The Hungry is a very engaging revenge thriller and a visually stunning adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s least adapted works.
3 / 5
Paul Salt is the co-host of One Good Thing.