Allusive, elusive and by turns funny, romantic and tragic, Kranti Kanadé's CRD is a film tuned to the pitch of the artist's heart. Starting out as a comedy about competitive theater students before expanding into something harder to classify by normal genre standards, it offers insight into the creative process and the motivations that drive (specifically) theater artists. It's a valuable piece of work, if also one that appeals exclusively to drama-club nerds who get jokes about the Bachchan family. (There is a running bit about Indian cinema legend Amitabh Bachchan, who appears in a clip, and his well-liked but less revered son Abhishek, and it eventually coalesces into a really quite lovely philosophical epigraph — but the film does require that you know who they are, which may be limiting.)
CRD's best quality is the way cinematographer Daniel Katz's colors and judicious use of lens flare complement the opaque musings about theater and love that constitute the film's text. Written by director Kanadé and playwright Dharmakirti Sumant, CRD makes explicit the contrast between a rigid style of naturalistic, politically didactic mode of theater in which everything is spelled out and literally lived, and a more fluid, harder-to-define form that the film itself implicitly endorses, a kind of personal work that can be what it may.
If CRD has a fault, it's in being content to remain entirely within the specific milieu of competitive collegiate drama. There are insights in its script, and its craft is sufficiently skillful that Kanadé and Sumant could have explored further afield had they so chosen. But they didn’t, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.