Inspired by a short story, Jalbeshya, written by Bangladeshi author Al Mahmud, the film dwells on the lives of women living in the remotest part of Sundarbans. They are abducted and brought to jungles only to be groomed as prostitutes. Meanwhile, a nature photographer on his assignment to Sunderbans goes missing without a trace...
The narrative — sprinkled with a dash of mystery, lots of drama, emotion et al — no doubt takes off on an interesting note. But alas, when it comes to execution, it disappoints big time. With an embarrassingly low production value coupled with shoddy camerawork,
comes across more like a documentary than a feature film.
So when Saju (Sumanta) doesn't return from Sundarbans — long after his photography assignment gets over — his two friends, Lisa (Pamela Singh Bhutoria), a model, and John (Debdut Ghosh), an ad filmmaker, decide to go in search of him. Ignoring the warnings of the police about the dangers ahead, Lisa and John decide to visit Maranpurer Haat, where Saju was seen last. There, John is attacked by the lord of the jungle, Jehangir Sardar (Rajesh Sharma), whose word is considered law on the islands. An angry John refuses to take further chances and they return to Kolkata. Lisa, though, is undeterred. She plans on how to go back again and find Saju, with whom she was romantically involved once. Lisa, with the help of a doctor friend (Kaushik Sen), finds clues that seem like a jigsaw puzzle and she finds herself drawn into a maze. Finally, she meets the Jalbeshyas, who are forced into flesh trade by Jehangir Sardar. Lisa had seen their photographs, which were taken by Saju. What happens next? Now, will Liza ultimately find Saju is for the viewers to find out.
The story so far is interesting, but one wonders how much research has gone into sketching the characters of the Jalbeshyas. Here, the director must understand that mere skin show is not enough, if it is not justified and backed by solid performances. "
koto jonmer aasha, pipasha niye boshe achhi tomar jonnyo
," — when Sundari aka Rituparna Sengupta mouths these words for Saju, it almost makes you cringe. All with her sari wrapped low around her waist, the
that maintains its regular free-fall and reveals her cleavage, her hair held back with a tacky bandana— Rituparna's histrionics spoil it all. On the other hand, Deboleena as Meghna is somewhat convincing. And as if punishing the viewers with one Sundari wasn't enough, the film's villain, Rajesh Sharma appears consciously bored. Debutant Sumanta, with his curly locks, looks good on screen, but sadly fails in the acting department. Kaushik, Debdut and Pamela have done a fairly good job.
There are a few continuity lapses as well in terms of make-up. Sometimes the dialogues are too difficult to digest. The saving grace, however, is the editing part. The film doesn't stretch anywhere more than required. Overall, Taaan is film that makes an effort but goes absolutely off target.