Sonntag, 16. September 2007

Tathastu (2006) - Review in English

About the story: Ravi Rajput (Sanjay Dutt) lives with his wife Sarita (Amisha Patel) and his little son Gaurav (Yash Pathak) a modest but content life. But when Gaurav one day collapses during a cricket match, a nightmare begins for his parents. Ravi can hardly scrape together the 30000 rupees for his son's treatment in hospital, and when the doctor tells him that Gaurav has a weak heart and only can be saved by a heart transplantation which costs 1,5 million rupees, Ravi desperately tries to arrange for this amount but faces one setback after the other. Adding to that, there is also another candidate for the heart which could become Gaurav’s – a politician from the ruling party. To save his child, Ravi feels that there is only one chance left for him: He purchases a gun, takes thirty hospital visitors hostages and thus tries to enforce his son’s operation. While doctor Nita (Jaya Pradha), Ravi’s friends and finally even the hostages sympathize with the desperate father, deputy commissioner Rane (Gulshan Grover) arranges for sharpshooters outside the hospital...

A father fighting for his child and not shying back from committing a crime for this. Surely this awakes memories of another Sanjay movie – Pitaah. But there is a crucial difference between Pitaah and Tathastu: In Pitaah the father reacts to an injustice already done while in Tathastu the father wants to avert an unjustice not done yet – that a little boy is denied a life saving operation because his father is too poor to pay for it. Moreover as you may reckon that the other heart patient who probably is able to finance the operation with his petty cash hardly would get an invoice at all due to his state as a ruling politician.

And my compliments to director Anubhav Sinha that he, in spite of every appreciation of Ravi’s situation (also expressed by many people in the film), even brings counter-arguments into play: What if everybody who gets a feeling of being treated unjustly gets himself a gun and starts taking hostages? Not every copycat would treat his victims as cautiously and considerately as Ravi does. And when a spectator in front of the hospital asks whether it is okay to put thirty lives at stake for one life, then you must admit that her question is not unjustified. The same applies to the question about how to judge about such a crime committed out of a feeling of helplessness. Tathastu (= so be it) is thought-provoking in many respects.

Sanjay Dutt is the emotional center of the story. In a manner of speaking, all his co-stars could be wiped aside with a scratch of a pen even though there are also some very felicitous performances e.g. by Jaya Pradha (a nice reunion with Sanjay’s partner from many of his early films) and by Gulshan Grover; and if we leave aside her crying scenes she once again mulled then even Amisha Patel was okay. But the story’s motor is Ravi – and thanks to Sanjay this motor is going nicely. Sanjay neck and crop embodies the desperate father who is ready to sell himself for his son, and he moves to tears with his emotional outbursts. Thanks to his forceful performance the film hits you right into your heart. I even dare to claim that without Sanjay this film wouldn’t have worked at all. For to work, this film needed an absolute authentic leading actor the audience could identify with – and Sanju succeeded hundred per cent.

It says in a Tathastu review in the Hindustan Times City, "The film belongs to Dutt. He once again proves that he has it in him to actually go beyond the script." There is nothing I could add to this.

Produced by Nitin Manmohan; Directed by Anubhav Sinha
111 Min.; DVD: Shemaroo, English Subtitles (including song)
© Diwali

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