In " Tahader Katha"(Their Story ), Budhhadeb Dasgupta returns to the lost illusions concerning India's Independence, and concerning the Bengali Communist Movement. Set in the context of the first Indian general elections of 1952, it tells the story of Sibnath Mukherjee, an old anti-colonist "freedom Fighter", imprisonrd for long by the British and locked up in a mental hospital after Independence. He returns to the village , tucked away deep in Bengal. His return is arranged by one of his former comrades--arms, Bipin Gupta. The character of Sibnath is played by Mithun Chakroverty. Less narative than his earlier films , and helped by superb tracking shots of the countryside, a train and a bridge, by the ace cameraman Venu, "Tahader Katha" is wholly concentrated on the impenetrable world of a visionary wrapped up in his dream--hence a considered a " madman"--and completely cut off from the generation, which has come to power since Independence . He no longer recognise the world, which surrounds him, indifferent even to the affectionate gestures of his re-discovered family consisting of his wife who has patiently waited for him, and children. Bipin Gupta, whose track record is less clear than that of Sibnath--had brought him to the village with the purpose of using the aura of his long imprisonment to his advantage in the coming elections in which he himself is a candidate.
Together with his former friends, he exhorts Sibnath to take up his old profession of teacher and to support him in his political plans . But, Sibnath thiks that the latter and the others are corrupt and rejects their proposals. The only human being who seems to be concerned with him is his young son Jyoti--who has discovered his father, for he was born during the long imprisonment of the latter -instictively convinced that his father is not mad, like every one claims. One day, Jyoti wakes up at tthe sound of a chain, that with which his mother and sister are trying to shackle the sleeping father whose delirium frightens them. The child wakes up his father, who thus avoids being chained physically, for want of being chainrd mentally.
In this film, an allegory plays an important and revealing role. Abdullah, who has the half habit of choosing a person in the crowd to hypnotise, who is then made to doll all kinds of strange and humiliating things, just like the policemen who "hypnotises the people. One day the magician chooses Sibnath whom he forces to chew leaves like a goat, then he spits in his hand and wants him to lich it lke a pig. Sibnath then comes out of his traince and strangles the magician in front of the reeified crowd. The former " freedom fighter" Is then chained for good and taken away to a distant mental hospital He does not seem to be upset at this There have remained only broken remains of his dreams. The film is subtly scripted. There is the outstanding performance by Mithun Chakroverty. who has got the Natinal recognition for this film.