Tahaan, A boy with a grenade – Review – a fabulous celluloid fable; an allegory beautifully narrated

Tahaan… A boy with a grenade – Review - a fabulous celluloid fable; an allegory beautifully narrated

Tahaan… A boy with a grenade – Review - a fabulous celluloid fable; an allegory beautifully narrated

The Cast and Crew

Cinematography and Direction: Santosh Sivan
Producer: Shripal Morakhia and Mubina Rattonsey
Banner: i Dream Production
Music Director: Sunil Babu

Star Cast: Purav Bhandare, Anupam Kher, Rahul Bose, Rahul Khanna, Sana Shaikh, Sarika, Victor Banerji, Ankush Dubey and Dheirya Sonecha

The Film
Entirely shot in the picturesque Kashmir valley, Tahaan is not another film on terrorism, but tells the story of the troubled life of a small boy in the valley and his best pet, a donkey.
This is a simple story told in a manner that is simply fabulous. It is a celluloid allegory on the contemporary life and times in Kashmir, once described as the Paradise on Earth.

The Synopsis
Eight year old Tahaan (Purav Bhandare) lives with his grandfather (Victor Banerjee), his mother Haba (Sarika) and older sister Zoya (Sana Shaikh) in the serene hamlet in the valley of Kashmir. They all live in the hope that someday Tahaan’s father, who has been missing for three years, will return.
After the death of his grandfather, the village moneylender and his underling Kuka (Rahul Khanna) take away all the valuable assets of the family, including their pet donkey Birbal, in lieu of non-payment of a long pending loan. With the loss of assets, the entire family is pushed into difficult times. But Tahaan wants only thing that is getting back his pet donkey.
Tahaan goes to Lalaji only to know that Subhan Darr (Anupam Kher) has bought Birbal and taken him across the mountains. Tahaan goes after Subhan. But Tahaan is disheartened when he finds that Subhan has gifted Birbal to one of his relatives.
A dejected Tahaan meets a teenager Idrees, who promises to get Birbal, if Tahaan did a small work for him. Tahaan will have to carry a package across the mountains. Seeing Tahaan’s eagerness, Idrees hands him a grenade.
Tahaan goes off with the grenade and package. What does the package that Idrees has given contain? Is the mission undertaken by Tahaan dangerous? Will he return home with Birbal?

The Performance

Purav Bhandare has given an energetic performance, with such maturity that is not compatible with his tender age. Rahul Khanna and Rahul Bose are very competent. Anupam Kher carries his role with aplomb. Victor Banerjee’s cameo is convincing.
All other supporting actors have given performances that are pretty good.

The Techniques

The award winning cinematographer and director Santosh Sivan captures the scenic glory and the natural grandeur of Kashmir in such splendid celluloid frames, when combined with the fable-like story, the film Tahaan gives the feel of an exulting amalgamation of the best of poetry and painting.
This is an out and out director’s film and it is his comment on the sorry state of affairs in Kashmir told beautifully through the travails of an innocent little boy.
The music is very good and enhances the narration quality of the film. Tahaan is technically very well made.

The Verdict

Tahaan is a visual delight with a story that appeals both to the heart and mind. With excellent performances by all the artistes and very good technical plus production values, the film is worthy of viewing. Those who miss Tahaan, miss an exulting cinematic experience.

The Rating

3.5 out of 5

Review by Deen Kumar

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