Taran, the younger unmarried daughter of the zamindaar (landlord) in a Rajasthani mansion, violates the social codes dictating class and gender segregation by her sexual encounter with an engineer. (…) Taran moves through a landscape that mirrors her state of mind: a barren desert that was owned by a warrior caste now reduced to effete rituals of self purification, and handed over without protest to a new era of technological colonisers. The effects of capitalist modernisation are presented as both ruthless and incomprehensible, reducing an articulate cultural landscape into a mere natural resource. (…) Taran’s own rebellion is prefigured by a breathtaking shot of herself anointed with the ultramarine blue of Kali against an urban skyline.
—Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema (Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Paul Willemen; British Film Institute)
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
The camera and Taran are the protagonists in this work, in perfect rhythm they walk like ghosts through the rooms and corridors of a dilapidated house to the sound of a lone singing voice. Human depth and sociopolitical ideas blend with such harmony that the two elements effortlessly become one. "Mystic magnetism" are words I would choose to recommend this film. It's really a bunch of crap that this is the only work I can find by this director.