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Chai Garden

Chai Garden

Directed by Tanish Kaura  |  Review by TRIPTAYAN CHATTERJEE

[dropcap]K[/dropcap]eep watching……In every film there should be scenes we can expect to prepare us for the unexpected. CHAI GARDEN fulfills this condition. When we watch a tribal woman who is working hard to earn minimum money for the livelihood of her family, we get the feeling of the solitude of the woman as the representation of an exploited society from the time immemorial. This is the most important scene here. The camera is set up just over a little off the ground and focuses the whole body and the face of the woman in the backdrop of the limitless sky. Incredible. Director made it possible to tell actually what he wants to tell. Though the scene is in the middle span of the film, this shot is the last and first word of the Documentary CHAI GARDEN.

Keep watching…. a heart rendering theme of universal exploitation, told with the camera. The screenplay with a standard backbone reflecting the remarkable shooting. Simple editing and camera tell a wonderful story. The simplified story of a complex problem brings a new dimension in the film. Though it has many scopes to get brighter in sense of depth and analysis, but still what is portrayed in the film is really a wonderful creation, which can make a little quake in the heart and the brain of the viewer. CHAI GARDEN is actually a unique documentary film.

Keep watching… The theme of the film is there is no law enforcement for the labors in the tea gardens in West Bengal, an Indian province. They have been spending a miserable life. From the British period to the modern democratic days, the scene is the same. The film actually tells the story of exploitation in excuse of lawlessness and their effort to protest against it. Not only that, CHAI GARDEN also tells the story of the evolution of a tribal society at a par with this exploitation. It tells how the daily life, education, health, community life has been going gradually downward as a side effect of this long-lasting exploitation.

Script and screenplay are made according to the requirement of the theme and shots are arranged accordingly. This is the backbone of the film, where we can see that no unnecessary shots are there to spoil the flavor of the film. Probably it is the director’s efficiency that these peoples, despite not being any professional storyteller or speaker have also told their story before the camera with great smartness.

Another important part of the film is its fair editing. The description of a tea garden activities, the life of the professional labors, the lifestyle of the poor tribal peoples, the protest style of the community, the liquor business and tug of war between the personal relations, remote school education and health problems – all the topics are told naturally with the camera, but shots are not haphazard. Everywhere there is a sequence and rhyme where sometimes we feel to be involved in a story which is internationally called fiction and gives a special flavor to the documentary.

No doubt, CHAI GARDEN is a wonderful creation of the Director Tanis Kaura who tells the story in a unique way.


Triptayan is a filmmaker looking for a different horizon. Earlier a journalist Triptayan has done intensive research on film language and made different documentaries so far. He is now concentrating upon feature film in a vast landscape. Professionally a teacher, Triptayan has also passion for making films threaded with the international and universal thoughts.

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