‘Taandav’ Starring Manoj Bajpayee is an Absurd Drama with Tragicomic Outlook on Human Existence

Devashish Makhija’s short film Taandav starring Manoj Bajpayee in an unusual role reminds me of Samuel Becket’s ‘Waiting for Godot’, a black comedy or a drama with tragicomic outlook on human existence. Both Taandav and ‘Waiting for Godot’ have one thing in common: existential absurdity or absurd existence where we are caught between a raging tempest within ourselves and a deafening noise in the world outside.

Devashish Makhija’s Taandav is set in a very familiar world of ours where there is no outlet to our frustration over the conflict between what we essentially are and what our bustling surrounding strives to convert us into. That is what sumps up the setting and Manoj Bajpayee’s character in Taandav short film.

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Manoj Bajpayee, an award winning actor of rare caliber, plays a head constable in Taandav. His character is in conflict between fundamental values of being human and additional needs of existence in the 21st century world which is infested with dishonesty, disloyalty, betrayal, selfishness, struggle, etc.

He happens to be on duty during a boisterous procession of revelers marching for immersion of a Ganesha idol (visarjan) in Mumbai. The exuberance of the revelers enjoying themselves to loud beats of music in the procession adds to his frustration which badly seeks an outlet to vent itself.

He keeps watching their funny faces, crazy moves and wild gestures from a distance. It makes him wonder what is holding him back from being like those who look happy outside. He gropes into his inner dark world for a way out. He visualizes a few faces wearing masks amidst the revelers. Then an incident makes him take off his own mask of utter consciousness of the outer world during the procession.

He breaks into taandav. He begins to dance in an uncontrolled manner without any inhibitions of being a cop on duty and being oblivious of the surrounding. This is when he becomes a tragicomic character, a laughable object to others. What appears funny on surface in this sequence is his frustrated inner being. ‘Nothing is funnier than unhappiness’ in a world of absurd existence!

However, Manoj Bajpayee’s performance in Taandav is a delight as usual. He gets into the skin of any character convincingly, be it a simple constable or a gay professor in Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh, a most awaited film to be released on 26th February.

Devashish Makhija’s Taandav, though an 11minute short film, packs in power in its art of storytelling and its treatment of the subject ‘existential absurdity.’ Taandav is a must watch on Muvizz.com.

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Muvizz.com is a portal to watch rare documentaries and short films online in different regional languages of India. It is supported by Bollywood biggies like Naseeruddin Shah, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ketan Mehta, Shabana Azmi, Hansal Mehta, Rajkumar Rao, Sudhir Mishra, Vishal Bhardwaj and others.

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