The trailer of TASHER DESH gave us a feeling that we might be in for a pretentious and abstract ride. Well, thankfully the film is much simpler than its promo. It's different but surely not ambiguous.
An adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore's namesake play, TASHER DESH is about a prince (Soumyak Kanti De Biswas) who feels that there's something amiss in his life. He wants to fly and break free when an Oracle (Tinu Verghese) gives him a message. In his quest for true happiness and freedom, he leaves behind his alcoholic mother and traverses an unknown trajectory along with his friend (Anubrata Basu). They land up in Tasher Desh, an island of soldiers who identify themselves and are dressed up as cards. It's an autocratic place, almost like a military regime, where even laughing is prohibited. A tumultuous journey of resistance, perseverance and liberation ensues. CHECK OUT: Interview - Tillotama Shome
TASHER DESH grows on you. It takes some time for the viewer to comprehend what the film is about in the initial 30-odd minutes. But it's relatively a smooth ride from then on.
The one thing that binds the film together is its songs. They are beautifully composed, shot, and elevate the film to a great extent. Most importantly, the 19 songs don't affect the film's narrative.
However, the main flaw of the film is its inconsistent direction. While it requires patience in some portions, it becomes a test of your patience in the others. Some portions are a complete drag.
Manu Dacosse makes the film feel like a painting in motion with his wonderful cinematography. Mridul Baidya's art direction is superlative. The editing could've been better. CHECK OUT: Interview - Q
TASHER DESH has some brilliant performances. Soumyak Kanti De Biswas subtly charms as the prince. Tillotama Shome acts well. Imad Shah is wonderful. Anubrata Basu is good as the prince's friend. Joyraj Bhattacharjee gets into the character well. Tinu Verghese is decent in her small part.
TASHER DESH is quirky for sure, but not entirely engaging.