Bengali Movie Review: TARA (2010) - The bold Bratya Basu film challenges corrupt administration, studies violent Maoist movement

By Aditya Chakraborty
WBRi Kolkata Speciual Correspondent

CALCUTTA, Nov 5, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Renowned playwright-actor-director-producer Bratya Basu (exclusive audio interview) who has delivered remarkably intelligent and critically acclaimed films in the past like Raasta and Teesta (buy Bangla film DVD) has directed Tara, his latest film made on a topic which is hot in Tollywood: Maoists. A couple of more films around violent extremism associated with the Maoist movement have been made which are awaiting release in the future like Agunpakhi and Ghuri . Sesh Sanghat [buy DVD] (featuring Bollywood stars Jackie Shroff and Jaya Prada for the first time in a Bengali film) also dwelt on Maoism in India, but that wasn’t the central theme as it was more based on revenge rather than the main issue.

Bratya's Tara is shown to support the Maoist cause where even the character of Jahangir Khan - a cop - is shown to sympathize with them though not support them fully. Bratya has made this film to protest against the Maoist terror as well as to show how the joint action Government security forces are carrying out operations in the Maoist infected areas. The internal conflict between two rival gangs has also been shown poignantly.

Asish, a Maoist is caught and tortured by the police. When he is asked what he was doing at Baruipur, he says that he had gone to meet Prof Manoj Roy. The police go to his house and arrest Roy. They start torturing him though he is completely innocent. The Maoists led by Indra Bose and his associate Rama Naidu (who leads another gang) are keeping a look out on the happenings in the city. When Indra comes to know about the professor, he decides to do something about it as he secretly used to admire the professor’s daughter Madhuja many years back when they used to be neighbours though she doesn’t know about it.

Madhuja starts fighting a lone battle as everyone close to her is asked to stay away from her by the ruling party and even she is threatened a number of times. One day she gets a call from a journalist who offers to help her and introduces her to Jahangir Khan, a I.P.S officer who is fighting his own battle with the establishment as he is strictly anti-establishment himself and is currently under compulsory leave. He is later on suspended and then he really takes up Madhuja’s cause.

Rama Naidu’s men also try to kidnap Madhuja a couple of times. Indra arrives in the city with his men and kills the men of the ruling party who were harassing Madhuja. Jahangir comes to know the truth about Indra and Madhuja from Rama Naidu who goes to his house with his men to threaten him a bit. Jahangir comes to know from Rama Naidu about Indra's whereabouts. He goes there and meets Indra face to face. Indra knows that Madhuja loves Jahangir so he decides to forego his love. One of the corrupt cops, Mr.Dey receives a call at night one day asking him to release the professor and speak on his behalf; otherwise he would have to face the consequences. He does that the next day and the professor is released. Jahangir also comes to know that the cops are going to go all out for Indra and Rama Naidu so he goes and warns them before they arrive. They go away but before that, Indra asks him to take care of Madhuja.

Though the posters of the film said ‘Aamrao Noi Tarao Noi’ which is also mentioned at the beginning of the film, however one can clearly see the way the film has been made going against the ruling party in the state of West Bengal. It is extremely evident and shows the corrupt establishment, administration, how they are hand in hand to make a mockery of proceedings in the state and they make innocent people scapegoats when they need to save a situation. In fact what has been shown is actually taking place in Bengal and well, facts have been just highlighted. In fact Jahangir clearly states in one his dialogues that the winds of change are clearly blowing very heavily in the state and one might even see a new ministry in the near future.

Prosenjit (exclusive WBRi interview with Prosenjit Chatterjee) is okay and not very great because the reason is he is again shown with a few typical mannerisms of his which is not great news and one might be disappointed with him after watching Autograph. Paoli Dam as Madhuja, the girl fighting a lone battle against the very corrupt system is good, but Tota Roy Chowdhury as Jahangir is top notch. He looks a cop, behaves like one and carries his role like someone who is actually being victimized by the adminstration. In fact he is the only one who gets cat calls from the audience during the dialogues (maybe even a few fights and no, Bumbada didn’t get any!).

The most remarkable thing - the way the crowd was enjoying themselves whenever the corrupt and the evil were being punished seemed as if a new ministry will clearly be formed soon enough in Bengal and the winds of change are blowing extremely heavily in Bengal. Also Gautam Haldar of Nandikar is seen in film in one of his rare appearances and he as Subir Sen, a ruling party leader who keeps on saying Mama Mia from time to time is brilliant. Bratya Basu himself appears as Rama Naidu in the film and has done a decent job.

Samir Aich, famous painter who is a consultant for the film is also shown in a bit role.