This is the tenth film I saw at the 13th Pusan International Film Festival.
By this time I think the exhaustion is really getting to me. Because I think I would've otherwise enjoyed this film more.
Tahaan tells the story of the small boy whose name gives the film its title. He lives in a small, mountainous Indian village (Kashmir actually), and all he cares about is his donkey Birbal. He is somewhat precocious, as he does everything in his power to get the donkey, which his father promised him but due to some debts was sold out to someone else in the village. So he sets out to buy the donkey - but then the donkey is sold to a jovial old man from the other side of the mountain, Subhan Daar. And so Tahaan latches himself to Subhan Daar, selling himself as the only person the donkey would listen to, in an attempt to win the donkey back.
The secondary title refers to a side story starting in the second half of the film when Tahaan, in his despair over impending failure to retrieve Birbal, is taken advantage of by a Kashmiri terrorist named Idrees, who promises Birbal to Tahaan if he is able to smuggle some items across the border along with the unsuspecting Subhan Daar - and hands him a grenade. The grenade thus becomes a plot device for suspense - and the last five minutes of the film plays out like the best of Alfred Hitchcock.
For me, however, the boy was incessantly annoying. The audience enjoyed it though, so it must be my tiredness - but the boy whines and cries and persuades like a snake all the way through the film, I suppose because it is cute.
Would I recommend it? I think I would. It is a very simple film about a boy trying to get his donkey back, with solid performances from the boy actor as well as others. The cinematography and editing can be quite lively (utilising lots of pans and zooms), and I did enjoy some of the scenes which feature a nice pulsating Indian beat, like when Subhan Daar sends the boy to race his donkey with his dumb nephew's camels (or was it horses?). And snow in a film set in India is something that one rarely encounters - the scenery is naturally beautiful.
How Good I Think The Film Is: 8/10
How Much I Liked It: 4.5/10
Links to the other 30 reviews of films seen at the film festival, and other articles.