Rahul Ranjan’s review published on Letterboxd:
The worst feeling in one's life is to realise that what you love the most doesn't love you back.
Chaitnya Tamhane's sophomore feature follows the lifelong quest of Sharad Nerulkar who's seeking admiration and enlightenment in an arcane art form.
What separates Sharad from any other 'up and coming artist' protagonists is that he's the side hero of his own film, he doesn't control his narrative instead he's controlled by them.
He's not talented enough as he'd like to, he's not focussed enough as he should be, he's just a delusioned disciple who isn't able to identify that weather his capabilities lies where his devotion is.
This gave me a strong epiphany as an aspiring filmmaker that I'm also being controlled by my circumstances and I'm also not the protagonist of my journey, in fact I'm a mere pawn. Like Sharad I'm also delusioned about the fact that weather my capabilities lie where my passion is. And sometimes I fear so much that the answer is not what I'm going to like that I stop questioning at all. I suppose all of us face this dillema, but what about them who knows the answer and the answer is not what they expect. How to make peace with it? How to live with the tag that you're not good enough? Capable enough?
My biggest takeaway from 'The Disciple' is that one can still accept failing to live up to someone else's expectations but once you failed to your own everything becomes redundant for you including your own existence.
Tamhane's film makes all of us to introspect ourself critically, whether we like it or not.