Friday, April 11, 2008

Tingya: Marathi film review

Directed: Mangesh Hadawale
Starring: Sharad Goekar, Tarnnum Pathan, Ajit Gwande, Inesh Chauhan, Sunil Deo, Madhavi Juvekar, Chitra Nawathe and Vitthal Umap
Stars: Three

As Marathi cinema takes more confident strides, more and more filmmakers are looking for subjects and settings that are homespun, authentic and original. Which means many films (Valu, Nirop..) are being shot amidst the pristine, nestling beauty of Maharashtra’s rustic interiors and villages, opening up a whole new world for audiences all over.

And mainly for the above reason, Mahesh Hadawle’s debut film Tingya is special. Having born and brought up in a remote village, Hadawle has a certain genuine understanding of the setting---- a drought-affected village in Maharashtra --- which lends the film superb texture.

The film is about Tingya, a 8 year old boy and his deep love for his family bull. The animal is sickly and has ceased to be of any use to Tingya's father in ploughing. The family is hard-pressed for money and feel it is in their best interest to sell off the bull and get some money. However, Tingya is adamant about not giving away his 'friend' and goes to great lengths to protect it.
When a neighbour’s grandma is on her death bed and her family nurses her, Tingya wonders why his bull must be turned out when human beings are looked after even when they become old.
This seems to be Hadawle's underlining theme where he suggests that village folk are more attached and share an emotional bond with nature and their surroundings compared to those living in the cities.
Nothing seriously wrong with that presumption and there are also some admirable parts that bring out Tingya’s anxiousness at losing his pet animal – the scene where he thinks his father might be successful in getting a tractor thereby not needing to sell the bull is a great one. However, Tingya dilemma is too long drawn out and after a while his concern seems too minor in the face of what his parents are going through. Portions where Tingya cuddles the bull or strikes himself on the leg instead of the animal until he bleeds are unpalatably melodramatic.
The central premise may lack an emotional resonance but the plight of the farmers –depicted through Tingya’s family—has been tackled with maturity and depth.
The film is certainly special for its brilliant camera work and setting and but it’s significance chiefly arises from the fact that this is a subtle yet powerfully evocative drama on the state of farmers in the country.