Bangaaru Talli: Not for the weak hearted

A still from the film  

Week after week, when one gets to watch films that re-churn staid commercial formula, boredom creeps in and one wonders where the truly absorbing stories are. And then, out of the blue comes a Telugu film that steers clear of a predictable story, stereotyped characters and force fit comedy and stunt sequences. With three national awards and five international awards under its belt, Naa Bangaaru Talli by director Rajesh Touchriver has received a delayed yet limited release. From the pre-release publicity, it was clear that the film is narrating a true story of sex trafficking. Yet, nothing prepares a viewer for the twist in the tale.

The story is set in a hamlet somewhere in Rajahmundry where a teenager, Durga (played by Anjali Patil) is celebrating her state-level rank and dreams of pursuing higher studies in Hyderabad. Her doting father (Siddique) is eager that she continues her studies, but not in the big, bad city.

Naa Bangaaru Talli

Cast: Anjali Patil and Siddique
Direction: Rajesh Touchriver
Music: Sharreth and Shantanu Moitra
Bottomline: Truth is stranger than fiction

The film takes its own time to establish the father-daughter bond and through a few sporadic incidents, shows the young girl’s anger when she comes across instances of sexual harassment. There is a sense of lurking danger as the director keeps viewers guessing as to what will shatter this close-knit family. Will it happen when she travels by train one night to Hyderabad? Will one of the men in the village turn out to be her nemesis? When the twist in the tale is revealed, it comes as a rude shock. More so when we process the fact that it’s a true story.

The film picks up momentum from here and doesn’t shy away from showing the predicament of an innocent teenager caught in a cesspool of flesh trade. The father goes in search of his daughter who is now coming to terms with what has happened to her and attempts to escape, in vain. The film that had all the potential to be a riveting thriller slows down when it lingers more than necessary on the attitude of women and men at the brothel. Some of the dialogues that convey the treatment meted out to girls who try to escape, the leering men in the background and the women with heavy make-up, can make the weak-hearted uncomfortable in their seats.

The last 15 minutes make up for the rough edges in the earlier portions. Words are used minimally and the story telling happens largely through the expressions of the actors involved and the terrific background score of Shantanu Moitra. Initially, one tends to feel that Anjali Patil’s expressions and dialogue delivery and expression precariously border on going overboard. But as the film progresses, she comes into her own and owns the film in the final moments. Siddique is pitch perfect as the father with a natural, believable performance. Theatre actor Ratna Shekhar Reddy puts in a neat performance as Durga’s fiancé. Rama Thulasi’s cinematography deserves a mention.

Naa Bangaaru Talli narrates a hard-hitting true story that requires courage to digest.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 3:06:20 AM |

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