Tahader Katha (1992)

Posted: August 17, 2015 in 100 remarkable Bengali films, Bangla 1990-2000, Bengali films, Buddhadeb Dasgupta

As we celebrate the sixty-ninth anniversary of our Independence, I feel it is a moment for all of us to be proud and take pride in being the citizen of a free nation. We must recall the memories of so many freedom fighters that have sacrificed their lives / given it all to enable us to be a free citizen of a great country. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh, Surja Sen, Mangal Pandey, Khudiram Bose, Udham Singh, Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo, Veer Savarkar, Bagha Jatin, Chandrashekar Azad and many others deserve respect for giving us this hard earned freedom… I was looking at celluloid and tried to discover some works that speak of the post freedom scenario. I drew a blank, except for this 1992 award winning film …

TAHADER KATHA (1992)

There have been several films on the lives of freedom fighters. However, one can’t recall any film which has been made on the plight of a freedom fighter in post Independent India. TAHADER KATHA captures the agony of one such freedom fighter Shibnath Mukherjee (Mithun Chakraborty) who returns after serving a long term prison sentence to his village. Shibnath was imprisoned for killing a British officer in pre-independence days, and the release happened in a free country.

The world he discovers in his village and elsewhere repulses him. It tellingly captures the decadence in society all around symbolizing that idealism, dreams and sacrifices of our freedom fighters have just evaporated – the gravest injustice that citizens of a free nation could have inflicted upon the memories of those who even laid down their lives for the sake of their motherland.

The film is rich in visual imagery. The scenic rural backdrop has been brilliantly used as a contrast to the inner turmoil of the protagonist. The father-son relationship and their dialogues are quite memorable. The film also touches upon the theme of partition and displacement and loss of a homeland. When Shibnath returns to his family he finds that their ancestral land has become part of a neighboring country.

The film ends quite poignantly. Shibnath is shown taken away from his village after being branded as a mad man in the train that brought him to the village in the initial sequence. Now, was that inspired by the mapping sequence as seen in the beginning and the ending of Ghatak’s MegheDhaka Tara? Anyway, this was a resonating commentary on the state of affairs prevailing in the nation.

The film uses a lot of tracking shots. Mithun Chakraborty gives a fine performance in the lead role. He won the second National award for Best actor for this superlative performance. He was ably supported by Dipankar Dey, Anusya Mazumdar, Haradhan Bannerjee and others. The film is based on a story by Kamal Kumar Majumdar.

Rating: 3.9 out of 5

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