The dreams of Game Over’s Swapna

It has been more than 10 days since Game Over got released, and it seems people are still trying to get their heads around the events of the film. Are there actually three serial killers? Does Swapna (Taapsee Pannu) really get three lives, much like in the video game, Pac-Man, she is so fond of? Is there really a ghost that is looking out for her? Has the tattoo ink smeared in a victim’s ash, actually forged a connection between two spirits? Director Ashwin Saravanan has since been asked more than once to clarify, and in not keeping with the present trend—of directors explaining their own films—Ashwin has refused to bite and simply suggested that people are free to draw their conclusions over what the film means. He’s not playing it safe; he’s simply stating the truth. There are arguably multiple versions of Game Over at the moment. There’s the horror film about the ghost of a serial killer victim getting her revenge by inhabiting Swapna’s body. There’s the thriller about a woman on a wheelchair overcoming odds by fighting off multiple killers. And best of all, and this is the interpretation I believe: There’s a psychological film in which Swapna imagines her battle with three serial killers, in order to push through a few traumatic hours. Wait, what?

It’s a clever choice by the writers Ashwin Saravanan and Kaavya Ramkumar to dramatise the inner workings of her mind, and not only dramatise it, but actually create a full-fledged thriller out of Game Over, with serial killers and ghosts, so it can regale those simply looking for an on-the-surface experience. If any film really deserved to have people poring over minor details, it’s one like Game Over. It’s a shining example of what some of us have always shouted from the rooftops: Any film claiming to possess multiple layers must first work without them. The layers are flavours, not the food itself.

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