Tarpan movie review: A realistically probing metaphor

TARPAN movie review is here. Based on writer/novelist Shivmurti’s story of the same name, the movie directed by debutant Neelam R Singh

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TARPAN movie review is here. Based on writer/novelist Shivmurti’s story of the same name, the movie directed by debutant Neelam R Singh features Nand Kishore Pant, Neelam and Abhishek Madarecha in pivotal roles. The movie has travelled various festivals and won accolades at JIFF (Jaipur International Film Festival,), IWFF (International Women’s Film Festival), MWFF (Mzansi Women’s Film Festival). Let’s find out in TARPAN movie review, how hard – hitting and realistic is the movie.

Immediate reaction when the end credits roll
The caste divide is the biggest ‘Kalank’ (stigma) in our society that keeps haunting back.

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The story of TARPAN
Tarpan – which is ritual of purification, salvation done in order to please the divine forces and purify the sins committed by ancestors, is a story of caste struggle prevalent in India since ages. Based on the novel of the writer Shivmurti (known for TRIYACHARITRA, KESAR KASTURI, KASAI BADA etc), TARPAN is the story of Rajpatiya (Neelam) a young lower caste girl who accidently enters a sugarcane field owned by the family of upper caste Chandar (Abhishek Madarecha). Rajpatiya enters on the pretext of tasting some sugarcane but unfortunately Chandar spots her and decides to teach her and her community a lesson. He forces himself upon her and attempts to molest her.

However, Rajpatiya is rescued by people working in the neighboring fields. The incident takes a political turn thanks to selfish motives of a locale Dalit leader Bhaiji (Sanjay Sonu). Bhaiji manipulates the parents of Rajpatiya – father Pyare (Nand Kishore Pant), mother (Poonam Alok Ingle) to use this incident and frame the upper caste Chandar in charges of rape as a revenge for the alleged atrocities done by the upper caste on their community. An ugly cold war highlighting the caste struggle takes place. The events finally lead to unexpectedly shocking reactions where humanity, the said pride and honour takes the maximum beating.

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Good points
Debutant Neelam R Singh takes a semi docu, realistic approach, the rawness is maintained and there is no attempt to chest beat the issue which comes alive to those who have an idea on how caste system has ruled our nation. It’s a tough task to maintain a proper balance between the communities and stay away from getting bias and the director succeeds to a fair extent.

The author/writer Shivmurti is known for his voice concerning the oppressed people and his work is filled with layers of discovery, redemption and salvation. TARPAN is a metaphoric realization, an indie told in a semi art cum docu manner that manages to hit some relevant notes that matters society and humanity. The truth that communities are used and are getting exploited for political gains gets underlined in this earnest attempt.

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The actors give a realistically natural portrayal. Nand Kishore Pant as Pyare the father torn between past aghast, guilt and fate is earnest. Rajpatiya gives a true picture of innocence trapped by greed and fake honour. Sanjay Sonu as Bhaiji leaves his mark and is very natural. Abhishek Madarecha as Chandar = born and brought up in an environment that supports the prevalent male machismo, the feeling of superiority only because of birth and not deeds is fine.

Other actors do chip in with valuable support – Rahul Chauhan as Chandar’s father Pt.Dharamdutt is good. Vandana Ashthana as Panditain – Chandar’s mother who is blinded by her status and love for her son is fantastic. Poonam Alok Ingle who plays Rajpatiya”s mother is rightly restrained. Padmaja Roy as Lavangi has her moments.

TARPAN could have been the time bomb that can be exploded at any given time. The class struggle is a stigma since ages and the onscreen adaptation by Neelam R Singh though realistically probing metaphor; it fails to become the required knockout punch, the emotional sweep. It knocks our mind at times but fails to massage our souls and create a lasting impact.

Technically flawed with jumps and jolts at places, the audio irritatingly skipped at some places, making it difficult to feel the music if not dialogues. TARPAN restricts itself to being an attempted indie – docu cum feature product that requires some understanding of the class divide and the politics behind.         

Final words
Before Neelam R Singh’s adaptation of Shivmurti’s TARPAN, in 1994 K. Bikram Singh made a hard hitting movie on communalism and caste system by the same name. The movie starred Om Puri, Revathy, Dina Pathak in pivotal roles.

The prolific Basu Chatterjee lesser known gem TRIYACHARITRA (1994) was based on Shivmurti’s much acclaimed story of the same name. TRIYACHARITRA saw the rare union of parallel cinema stalwarts Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri coming together along with Rajeshwari Sachdev.

TARPAN may not be that nostalgic and hard – hitting as it should have been considering the subject matter, it flaws are glaring but still the honesty by director Neelam R Singh to tell a story to the people that needs to be told cannot be ruled out.

The makers have struggled to make TARPAN see the light, the movie does highlights the effects of the ongoing caste struggle since ages and for that the movie deserves an extra. Going with a favorable 3 stars, an extra star for the honesty to tell a reality that concerns.

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