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Tahaan: Worth a watch
There have been many films on militancy in, what was once the paradise on earth – Kashmir. Some have been good, others bad and yet some more that have been relegated to the film archives of yore. Does Tahaan break any new grounds? Read on.
ABOUT A decade ago, as I walked out of Dil Se, the only thing that left with me in an otherwise drab film; was the strikingly haunting cinematography. Very soon the cinematographer, Santosh Sivan, won accolades for his film Terrorist. Tahaan is his new cinematic outing and once again the subject deals with terrorism in Kashmir, though it’s only a sub-text; because the narrative unfolds through the character ofTahaan – an eight-year-old boy and his unshakable love for his pet donkey (sounds better than ass!) Birbal.

The film, as Sivan puts in the opening and closing credits, is a fictitious fable of non-fictitious incidents. Tahaan lives with his mother lovingly called Moji (Sarika), Zoya and grandpa (Victor Banerjee). His father has been missing for five years now and the impoverished family is under the burden of debt it owes to the local-businessman, Rahul Khanna.

Problem arises when Victor Banerjee dies and to repay a part loan, Sarika gives the donkey to Rahul Khanna. Rahul further sells it to Anupam Kher. Anupam delivers essentials from one part of strife-torn Kashmir to another.

Since, Tahaan wants to be with Birbal (the donkey) he too gets acquainted with Anupam and his dim-wit nephew, Rahul Bose.

Tahaan wants his donkey back, but Anupam won’t let him have it. In this scenario enters a young militant, Idrees. He assures Tahaan that he will help Tahaan get Birbal if Tahaan executes one of his jobs.

The job – bombing the army depot; what happens to Tahaan and his donkey forms the rest of the narrative.

The story doesn’t have meat to develop into a full-fledged feature film; but it is the cinematography and the screenplay that keeps the viewers’ interest alive in the film.The way Santosh builds up the mindset of a terrorist and the eventual use of Tahaan by extremists is commendable.

What rocks the movie:

Cinematography is absolutely riveting and out of this world. The performances by all the principal characters complement the narrative beautifully. Even the donkey acts intelligently! The background music gives the movie much needed depth. Also, the plain and simplistic approach works well for the movie. The climax and the resolve is another clincher.

What chucks the movie:

Some of the characters could have been better integrated; Rahul Khanna for one.


It might not be the best movie on terrorism; but if you see it as merely the story of a boy named Tahaan; you are bound to be bowled over by superlative performances, cinematography and simplistic approach.
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