Being grabbed out of your comfort zone might sound like a professional hazard. Sometimes it could be a side effect of entertainment as well. Speaking of which, 'Tasher Desh' is entertaining but it’s not your everyday piece of cinema. It is thoroughly different, disturbingly volatile, breathlessly quick and shall transport you to a world decorated with sound. No, it doesn’t have your regular desi song-dance routine. It comes close to a musical but thanks to excessive abstraction, it stays far away from reality.
Loosely based on Tagore’s play of the same name, the film attempts to follow a stream of characters who appear disillusioned by fantasy. Anyway, that doesn’t stop them from being the way they are. Each one of them is reeling under some emotional baggage from their past. They are abnormal yet relatable. As a result, what we receive on the big screen is a constant migration from one state of mind to another — and one era to another. The complex nature of the decisions they undertake and their aftermath is dealt with in a quirky manner leading to bizarre acts of redemption.
After all, the urge to break free from a posh existence drives the protagonist and his friend towards something completely incomprehensible. They end up on a territory that would put North Korea to shame. The Land of Cards, it is: military foibles who detest laughter at its humourous best. Unfortunately, a majority of our heroes’ attempt at being funny is lost on the poor dialogue delivery. Despite the amazing mosaic and irritating repetition, the overall canvas is a sight to behold. On the downside, the void in the flow is obvious at moments.
All things said and spoiled, the storytelling isn’t as effective as Rabindra Sangeet playing in the background. Almost all the numbers are worth getting engrossed in, Bengali’s foreignness notwithstanding. Running for about two hours, the battle is between the visual and the audio — one trying to outmatch the other. The characters gradually melt into the background allowing music to take the front seat.
It’s hard to find a reference point for this peculiarly authentic work. Those who managed to watch the director’s previous venture should know that he is not fond of societal norms. What’s more interesting is he’s not fond of cinematic norms either. Having said that, it’d be nicer to see a lesser self-indulgent effort.