|Directed by||Kumar Shahani|
|Written by||Kumar Shahani
|Based on||In the Ravine
by Anton Chekov
|Music by||Vanraj Bhattia|
|Distributed by||National Film Development Corporation (NFDC)|
|Running time||121 minutes|
Kasba (English: The Town) is a 1991 Indian drama film written and directed by Kumar Shahani. It is based on the short story In the Ravine by the famous Russian playwright Anton Chekov. The movie is an import work in the Indian Parallel Cinema movement which started in the early 1970s. It is one of the last films to be part of the movement as it died out by the early 1990s (but was later resurrected in the new millennium under directors Ram Gopal Varma and Anurag Kashyap). The movie features a few well-known actors of the Bollywood film industry, the most prominent of them being Shatrughan Sinha.
The story centers around a small town entrepreneur named Maniram who makes a major profit by cheating people and selling them tainted food. His business is run by his daughter-in-law Tejo, who is married to Maniram's mentally challenged younger son. When Maniram's elder son comes back into town to get married, things start to go awry. He runs away from his wife after their marriage night and ends up being arrested in Delhi. The police, with further investigation, start to crack down on Maniram's corrupt business all the while Tejo starts to become mad with power and greed.
Awards and Criticism
Kasba is described as being slow and uncharacteristically melodramatic for a Shahani film, but it has gotten acclaim from majority of critics. The film blog Ellipsis gave a positive review of the film saying, "One of the most impressive aesthetic elements of Kasba is the positioning of the camera, moving only to parallel the psychological and emotional mood of the characters, whilst windows and doorways are used repeatedly throughout to frame the actions of characters so that the exterior landscapes merge seamlessly with the interiors creating a feeling of social inertia and even rural decadence. At times, Shahani’s emphasis on the rituals and traditions tied up in the history of the family recalls a philosophical approach characteristic of anthropologists."