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Review Bengali

Tuski review: Pretentious execution, melodrama takes away the rawness and reality

Release Date: 24 Aug 2018 / Rated: A / 01hr 51min

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Roushni Sarkar

The film is neither entertaining, nor does it hit the audience hard by providing a realistic experience.

Aniket Chattopadhyay’s Tuski neither delivers a fulfilling cinematic experience, nor does it have an engaging storyline. The film attempts to bring out the conflicts between those from the slums and those from the upper income groups. The lead artistes are mostly the ones known for playing supporting characters. However, the film fails to bring out the rawness required to achieve success with this particular storyline.

Tuski tries to portray the flip side of those living in the slum. For starters, it vividly portrays their desperation and the inability to stick to values. Further, the slow screenplay and the shallow dialogues fail to bring alive the sequences that could have hit the audiences hard. Also, the performances by most artistes are extremely high pitched and melodramatic which not only takes away the essence of the film, but also makes it a tiresome watch.

The film begins with a lady dying while giving birth to her daughter. As she is about to die, a politician is heard making ambitious promises on the occasion of Independence Day. And Tuski is born. Her mother’s sister Ranita (Kanchana Maitra) raises her as her own child and starts living with her brother-in-law (Rajesh Sharma). They decide not to disclose it to Tuski that her biological mother is dead and pose as her parents.

Ranita takes up the job as a maid-cum-cook with a well-to-do family. They also have a daughter called Tua. Tuski, back at home, is taken care of by Ranita’s aged father, who often steals food from the portion kept for Tuski, out of hunger. As Tuski grows up, Ranita often brings her along at work, much to the chagrin of her mistress. She makes sure that Tua doesn’t mingle with young girl from the slum.

Tuski’s neighbourhood is full of people who are both generous and foul-mouthed. On the other hand, Tua’s mother is obsessed with getting her child admitted to a convent school. Tua’s grandfather (Pradip Mukherjee) is an evolved soul. He sometimes smirks at Tua’s mother’s obsessions and dominating nature, as well as on his son’s total surrender to her. Tua’s uncle is a notorious councillor, who has an illicit relationship with Tua’s mother.

Tua befriends Tuski, and on her birthday utters a slang in front of all the elders. She later discloses that she has learnt it from Tuski. Enraged, Tua’s mother fires Ranita and insults her to no end. Ranita, in a fit of rage, swears to get Tuski admitted in the same school Tua is about to go. The rest of the film depicts Ranita and the entire slum's struggle to arrange the admission of Tuski in the convent school, fighting the conspiracies hatched by Tua’s mother.

The first half of the film is extremely slow and generates interest only when Ranita takes up the challenge. The repetitive dialogues of the both the child artistes are quite irritating. It seems Chattopadhyay could not come up with more lines for them.

The episode of suspecting one of the educated slum dwellers as a maoist doesn’t have any relevance to the storyline. Also, the film shows that Ranita and the entire slum is struggling to collect a mere Rs1,800 to buy the admission form for Tuski. However, at the end of the film, they are painting and decorating their locality to welcome the priest of the convent school with fervour. Suddenly, they seem to have gotten hold of a lot of money to make all the arrangements.

 On the other hand, the director has also brought in the hypocrisy and the contrasting values present in the people of both the classes, though not with finesse. While Tua’s mother accuses Ranita of staying with her brother-in-law while she herself has an affair with her husband's brother. Ranita showers Tuski with as much affection and care as possible, and on the other hand, Tua’s mother appears as a dominating fanatic, who only forces her own wishes on her daughter.

During the admission procedure, the councillor revolts against the priest for taking a slum girl, who uses slangs, into the school and uses the most abusive words himself. However, all these sequences appear quite pretentious and forced, and don't take place in the plot organically.

One of the very few strong points of the film is the grey portrayal of the slum area and its inhabitants. There are angst and deep frustrations in the characters dwelling there, and at the same time, poverty unites them despite their religious differences.

Kanchana Maitra is mostly melodramatic. It is also surprising to see a talented actor like Rajesh Sharma delivering an overtly theatrical performance throughout the film. Kharaj Mukherjee as D’Souza and Pradip Mukhopadhyay are the two exceptions among all the artistes who stick to natural acting. Anamika Saha does a fairly decent job as the foul-mouthed aunt.

Badal Sarkar has put in a lot of effort in his camerawork in order to bring out the pulse of the slums. Savvy Gupta’s music is more or less appropriate, keeping with the dramatic rise and fall of the film.

Chattopadhyay, through Tuski, makes an effort to spread the message that every being of the society deserves to have equal opportunities. However, the emphasis on equality is not there. The film ends up being a confusing tale of conflict and vengeance, that is not even related to class struggle. The film is neither entertaining, nor does it hit the audience hard by providing a realistic experience.


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