LAFF Movie Review: ‘Tara’

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As Tongues on Fire hosted the London Asian Film Festival (LAFF) for the 17th year running, they have been sure to screen some of South Asia�۪s most hard hitting films that focus on issues that the world faces today. With March being the month of International Women�۪s Day, LAFF have used this to their every advantage. Deciding to celebrate the power of women and make a stand for the way women are and have been treated in many different societies, Tongues of Fire have left no stone unturned in screening films that exemplify the subject in every possible way.

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As a part of the Festival, Tongues of Fire screened a very special and heart-felt independent film title ��Tara�۪(2013). Produced and directed by Kumar Raj, the internationally acclaimed film starring debut actress Rekha Rana, tells a compelling story about an ordinary girl who faces extraordinary circumstances.

Living in the small village of Tanda amongst a tight community are newlyweds Tara (Rana) and Baldev (Rohan Shroff). Living a peacefully amongst their neighbours, the couple are very much in love, and though an illegal trade, Baldev makes liquor for a living to get them by like many of the others in the village. However things quickly make a huge turn when the police arrive and arrest Baldev and his friend after they are caught. With her husband being imprisoned for 9 months, Tara is suddenly left all alone and the villagers find that their only way in making money has been destroyed at the time when they have been asked to make a large batch for the village head. Rising to the challenge Tara suggests that they make the liquor and send it to the head during the night. As the villagers build their business again, Tara begins to face even bigger challenges. After being refused by Tara, the village goon Babanya (Rohit Raj) who tried to woo her spreads a rumour that the child she bears isn�۪t her husband, but his own. As the rumour slowly spreads, so does a drought across Tanda and other neighbouring villages. With no water and people from the young to the old dying of thirst and hunger, Tara again steps up to the challenge of saving her village. As the months go by, still alone in her home whilst her husband does his time, the people of Tanda are face with more and more hardship. Again and again Tara does all she can to support and stand up for her neighbours, until the day of her husband’s release. As Tara readies herself for the day that she has been waiting for, for 9 months, Baldev walks out of the prison to find Babanya waiting for him. Still in a rath to destroy the women who refused him, the goon tells Baldev that Tara is bearing a child who father is another. In a rage Baldev marches home and confront his wife. When the rest of the village come to know what Tara is being accused of they decide to banish her from the village. 9 months pregnant with her baby due at any moment Tara begins to walk. Here is a women that was the first to rise at every challenge. Who was the first to support all of her neighbours, never give in to defeat and always took a stand for her village. Horrified at her ordeal, as the sound of her friends cries for her to come back fade, Tara walks for miles on end, with nobody�۪s support and nobody willing to help. What will become of Tara? How will she prove her loyalty to her husband? What will become of her child? And how will she live on?

From watching this film, it was more than evident as to why this film had been so appreciated during so many film festivals. Rekha Rana plays her role as Tara brilliantly. Like a great actor she acts with her eyes, where audiences are immediately drawn to her character. Vouching for her at her every struggle and rooting for her every achievement. It�۪s impossible to think of anybody else playing such a powerful role, and there�۪s no doubt in saying Rana definitely has what it takes to succeed within the acting world. Shroff also plays his part effectively. His part in the film deems actually rather difficult as he is seen going from the absolute good guy to the absolute awful. Shroff�۪s character can be seen as a representation of the way many societies think about how un-valued women really are. Shroff also manages to entice his audiences, playing his role honestly and confidently.

As heart-felt as the film is, the music makes it even better. Composed by Prakash Prabhakar, the films music is soulful and plays a perfect part in helping the story along. Though none of the songs are lip synced and full of people dancing, they all depict on Tara�۪s journey. Her love and pain in the longing for her husband are wonderfully visualised in ��Pardesi Raja�۪. ��Ishwara�۪ and Sajana Re�۪. The vocals of Sunidhi Chauhan, Madhushree Bhattacharya and Prakash Prabhakar, are a wonder to hear throughout the film, and add intensity to the story being told about this strong and brave women.

��Tara�۪ is a film that attempts to play a representation of women all over the world. They�۪re strength, grit, love and compassion. Kumar Raj has directed this film in a true and honest form. He has used the backdrop of a small village as a way of presenting a warm and humble story, that challenges the way women are seen within many societies. Depicting on the way women have what it take to stand on their own, for themselves and for the society that they believe in. Raj draws his audiences in an instant, always having them at the edge of their feet wondering about what will Tara do. This film is a perfect example of what LAFF are standing for this year, as well as a brilliant example of they way in which women should be seen all over the world.

Rating: 4.5/5

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