Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Dont you know that Santhosh Sivan who is a big name in the cinematography is also a director. He has given films like ‘Terrorist’, ‘Asoka’ etc which has got critical attention for its technical brilliance.

His new film ‘Tahaan’ deals with the critical issue of terrorism which has conquered on the valleys of Kashmir, the “Heaven on Earth”. He has taken the story of a child, Tahaan and his deep relationship with Birbal, a donkey that lives in the middle of this tension land.

Suffering from the poverty, child’s family decides to sell the donkey along with some of the house hold articles to a merchant as they feel that they are incapable of repaying his debts. The child was deeply attached to the donkey, so he was not ready to leave it. Since the situation demands he has to permit it and in the end whether he is able to get back his companion Birbal is what ‘Tahaan’ deals with.

In the middle, the director has discussed the after effects of terror activities on the locals there. He has conveyed the tensions prevailed in the land through without showing the faces of any terrorist leaders or any military officers. The influence of terror activities on the children living in these parts and how they came to such areas are also shown in some scenes. Anyway it is good to see that even the light hearted innocent child have got the sense to act against the violence.

‘Roja’, directed by Manirtnam which discusses the terror activities in Kashmir Valley has got the camera work by Santhosh Sivan, but that was not shot entirely in Kashmir due to security issues, they had chosen the cool atmosphere of Simla for the story background. On the other side ‘Tahaan’ is shot entirely in Kashmir (as far as my knowledge is concerned). It has got mind blowing visuals from the most beautiful place in India.

In ‘Tahaan’, which is a small budget film with a small star cast, the director has put frames on different reflections from the paradise. It includes the innocent families who are suffering due to the activities of militant organisations, the role of militaries, the negative influence on the children in those areas, the unusual bond between man and the foolish animal, the beauty of nature and its darker side etc.

‘Tahaan’ has got an extra ordinary performance by the child artist Purav Bhandare. He has got innocence in his body language and his bond with the donkey is also admirable. All other artists like Anupan Kher, Sarika, Rahul Bose, Rahul Khanna etc have also done well.

The story line of the film may be an inspiration from the foreign subject 'Children Of Heaven', but the creator here has choosen a different environment for story telling. Santhosh Sivan’s camera work along with direction is remarkable, it is evident from the fact that even the donkey that did the key character has also performed well...

‘Tahan’ is a lovable film with a good theme.

Rating : 4 / 5

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