Movie Review: Tamanna- Pooja Bhat

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Tamanna (Desire) is a Hind language drama directed by Mahesh Bhatt and produced by Pooja Bhatt. The story was written by both Mahesh Bhatt and Tanuja Chandra. 

The film is set in 1975 Mahim, Bombay. It is about Tikku (Paresh Rawal), the only child of Nazneen Begun and a transgender. Begum has met hard times and is quite destitute living off of Tikku who does hair-dressing and make-up for Bollywood actresses. After Begum passes on, Tikku is distraught with grief. Shortly after the funeral, he sees a child being left in a garbage bin and longing for a connection with another human, he picks her up and chooses to keep her. 

He names the girl Tamanna and brings her up mostly on his own with some help from his friend Saleem, played by Manoj Bajpayee. When Tamanna is old enough, Tikku sends her to St. Mary’s High School for her education. After Tamanna is done with school, she comes back home to find Tikku is a hijra and reacts negatively. However, she comes back to accept him. 

Tikku later on find out that Tamanna is the daughter of an aspiring politician Ranvin Chopra and he informs her after which she goes to his palatial home. This has a huge impact on the family and they give an excuse for abandoning her.

The film marked Pooja Bhatt’s debut as a producer and Paresh Rawal (Tikku) was critically acclaimed for his adaptation as a eunuch in the drama. In 1998, the film won the National Film Award- Best Film on Other Social Issues.  Pooja Bhat, the producer of the film earlier on wrote that Tamanna brought to light the uncomfortable truth of female infanticide in India and proved that largesse, brevity, and courage are often the attributes of the marginalised. 

This was an issue clearly shown by Tikku, the eunuch who gave a girl a shot at a new life after her father abandoned her because she was born a girl. Years back, at the closing ceremony of the Jagran film festival, Pooja, then 42, said that if she had made Tamanna then, the film wouldn’t have only gotten critical acclaim but would have been a money-maker and an appropriate film for the day. 

Had the movie been produced in this era, it would have been received by the right audience since it would’ve been extremely relevant to the issues the marginalised are going through. 

Pooja acknowledged that it was hard to sustain such an off-beat movie when it was made but the current age was an exciting moment for filmmakers as there are platforms to promote them now. 

When the film was released, it had to be done in the Metro cinema that only had a capacity of 1500 people which made it extremely hard to sustain it. Not only does the film Tamanna tell the story of a Transgender in India, it also throws light on societies irrational norms towards girls and the narrow, stereotypical view of sexuality.

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