A melodramatic film, Kumar Shahani’s Kasba is based on a short story by Anton Chekov. Maniram, an entrepreneur in a small town has made his fortune by adulterating food. His business is run by Tejo, the wife of his mentally retarded younger son. His elder son, who is involved in a business of printing counterfeit currency in Delhi comes back to his hometown and gets married. However, he gets drunk on the marriage night and later leaves to Delhi, where he gets arrested. Police cracks down on Maniram’s business while Tejo ruthlessly takes over the local power.
Kumar Shahani is a filmmaker who has been able to carve an aesthetic path and create a new cinematic language that is very much his own and as iconoclastic as his colleague, Mani Kaul. The two of them are largely responsible for the development of the ‘New Indian Cinema’ or the ‘Indian New Wave’ in creating an avant-garde cinema whose ideology was vastly different from the aesthetics of mainstream cinema as it was prevalent then.
Shahani was born in Sindh in 1940, now in Pakistan. His family migrated to India during the partition. He graduated from Bombay University in 1962 and then from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune in 1966. In 1967-68, Shahani was given a scholarship by the French Government for further film studies. Shahani studied at the IDHEC in Paris and in France, he assisted Robert Bresson on Une Femme Douce (1969) besides participating in the May 1968 student rebellion.
Shahani’s first feature film was Maya Darpan (1972… read more