Outwardly confident yet quietly insecure, 18-year-old Venkatesh Chavan climbs into a tree and stares at a pristine pool. He's a domestic worker at a nearby hotel in the Indian coastal city of Panjim, Goa, and he's ambitious enough to know that he wants something more, even if he doesn't know what, exactly. He performs his duties, meets his considerably younger friend Jhangir Badshah to sell plastic bags to earn extra money, studies the untouched pool and the surrounding, uninhabitated house and garden grounds, and retires for the night.

Boiled down to its essence, The Pool, which opened in New York earlier this week and will expand across the country in the coming weeks, is an apparently obvious tale that unexpectedly yet inexorably immerses the viewer in the lives of four characters that, like the pool itself, are deeper than they appear from the surface.

Venkatesh, for example, gives the appearance of an industrious young man, though he's constantly late for work and is bored by his daily routine. Opportunity comes knocking when a young woman (Ayesha Mohan) and her father (Nana Patekar) show up at the pool. The girl is insolent and rebellious, the man is gruff and stern. She reads intently, he tends impassively to the garden. After a period of observation from his perch in a tree, Venkatesh follows the man and quietly makes his presence known as the man shops for garden supplies at a nursery. Soon enough, the man, who is never named in the film, hires Venkatesh to help him in the garden, where he is introduced to daughter Ayesha.