By Rohini Banerjee:
Manoj Bajpayee has always been a criminally underrated actor. He has delivered many praiseworthy performances that either go unwatched, or unappreciated. However, that is slowly changing. He’s finally receiving wider attention due to the buzz (and outrage) surrounding his upcoming film Aligarh, and deservingly so. So, let’s take a moment to appreciate him some more, with his performance in this quirky little short film, Taandav.
Though Taandav is barely eleven minutes long, it packs in a lot of themes. It’s the story of an impoverished cop who is struggling to save enough money to admit his daughter into a good school and is simultaneously struggling as an honest, sincere man in a corrupt law and order system. Through his dealings with shady criminals, he comes across a huge load of cash and when his corrupt colleagues tempt him to divide it amongst themselves he finds himself torn between listening to them and doing the right thing. In the midst of this emotional conflict, something within his restraint snaps and he breaks into an impromptu jig—a ‘taandav’ of sorts. The taandav is symbolic of not just letting go of his deep internal turmoil, but an exploration and embracing of his self. It’s both amusing and emotional to behold. Watch the film to experience Manoj Bajpayee deliver one of his most subtle, yet most incisive performances.