Review - Tahaan: chaos in a little Kashmiri's life captured with serenity

wogma rating: Buy the DVD already (?)
quick review:

I wouldn't mind the leisurely picturesque voyage had it not been towards a sudden end. Yet barring the discontent sensed by the climax, the other 115 minutes were well spent.

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Wogma Review

I completely relished the sweet time taken to establish little Tahaan's innocence and his harsh environment. I got fairly involved with the conflict gradually created because he's surrounded by people taking advantage of an 8-year old's gullibility. All this build-up towards a 5-minute climax? So sudden was the en, that people who might've fallen asleep because of the slow pace thus far, might even miss the climax.

Yet, it didn't take anything away from a heart-warming performance by Purav Bhandare (Tahaan). The earnestness in his eyes in combination with his character's zeal was inescapable. I've become so used to seeing Anupam Kher in loud comedies, that any non-slapstick from him seems like a huge step in the right direction. So, though not his best, it's certainly one that makes most of the voice modulation he's capable of.

This is the first time I've seen Rahul Bose play a non-city-bred character. In fact, he plays a village fool, if not the village fool. I'm still debating whether it's more because of how we are conditioned to see him that he doesn't seem convincing or it is indeed a role that he couldn't carry. Any which way, both the actor and the director need to be complimented for the experimentation. Sarika's grief-stricken eyes left me completely awestruck.

And so did the cinematography. Kashmir's Pahalgam - the first time I saw snow and fell in love with it. Looks as beautiful now, as it was then. Only the houses look more rundown, the people seem poorer but have done their best to maintain the warmth inside. I guess visitors have to think twice before they can consider a vacation in Kashmir, where children play military-terrorist with their broken cricket bats. It might be fiction; it might be based on non-fictional situations. Either way, it's believable. Is it so easy to plant bombs? Or is this the film-maker's way of telling the people of Kashmir, "look at what you're doing to our children"

So, what do I give more weightage to - my disappointment with how the story loses its way or the beautiful photography? Why does it seem like the cinematographer Santosh Sivan took over the reigns from the writer Santosh Sivan? But, director Santosh Sivan seems to have done well with the actors, folk-based background score, art work, styling, and photography, of course. Was the aim to show the condition of Kashmir or to narrate the story of a brave boy? Maybe one through the other. Full points to the former and more than a little dissatisfaction with the latter. I'd give that extra point because the serenity of this one can only be enjoyed on the big screen.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Not much
  • Sexual content: None
  • Concept: A 8 year old child who lives a grim life makes 'staying with his only friend, his pet donkey' the aim of his life. The backdrop is Kashmir, so it’s has a very serious tone to it despite the seemingly flippant plot description.

Tahaan - Movie Details

Tahaan - Trailer

Comments (1)

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Vinayak:

I was a bit disappointed. But certainly worth a watch.

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