Kasba 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 Writer Anton Chekov.  Maniram (Manohar Singh) an entrepreneur, makes huge profits by cheating people. His business is run by his daughter-in-law Tejo (Mita vasisht), who is married to Maniram’s mentally challenged younger son (Raghuvir Yadav).  When Maniram’s elder son Dhani (Shatrughan Sinha) comes back into town to get married, things start changing. He runs away from his wife next day and later ends up being arrested in Delhi. The police starts cracking down on Maniram’s corrupt business while Tejo takes control of the power. Kasba was shot in the Kangra Valley- a tourist spot that is framed by the snow capped Himalayan mountains. 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. Shahani’s observation of life in the Kangra Valley is measured in the vivid use of natural sounds to which the ambitious and ruthless Tejo becomes impenetrable.  The naturalism of the soundtrack that is used in opposition to the destruction of the family and Tejo’s desire to inherit the family wealth including the land leads to the excluding of Tara (sister in law) and the death of her child. Thematically, Shahani’s interest is with the passing of a feudal system in which patriarchy is represented as inadequate to deal with and respond to modernity. Shahani carefully distances the spectator from raw human emotions s by introducing allusions to miniature art found in the Kangra Valley. The film shows Shahani’s complete mastery of the narrative mode and goes into the depths of human nature and its worst impulses – ambition and greed.


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