Rima Das' 'Tora's Husband' Lays Bare The Hard-Hitting Reality Of Post-Pandemic Life

Tora's Husband
Tora's HusbandL: IMDb R: Rima Das

Acclaimed Assamese filmmaker Rima Das made her debut in 2009 with her short film, Pratha. However, it was her film, 'Village Rockstars', which garnered her international fame in 2017. It won the Indian National Award and was the first Assamese film to be nominated at the Oscars. She has completely changed the cinematic landscape of Assam with her thought-provoking, gritty, and hard-hitting storytelling narrative. We get to see the best of Rima Das’s methodology in her latest film, Tora’s Husband which she shot, directed, wrote, edited, and produced.

"Assamese people are passionate about art, and you'll discover artists in every village in Assam—be it singers, musicians, actors, or writers. With the advent of digitalization, the filmmaking community is rapidly expanding. Events like these contribute to raising the visibility of the Assamese industry on both national and international stages. Let's create a better creative world together, uplifting each other, fostering empathy, and caring for nature and all its species."

Rima Das

Tora's Husband
Assamese Film ‘Village Rockstars’ Is India’s Official Entry For The Oscars

The pandemic made us all too familiar with the subject of loss. Disease and death are no longer strangers to all of us who have experienced the pandemic. In 'Tora’s Husband', filmmaker Rima Das paints a heart-breaking and layered image of a family crumbling under the woeful conditions of a post-pandemic small Assamese town called Chhaygaon.

Tora, portrayed on screen by the talented Tarali Kalita Das, is a nurturing housewife, who has to undergo the slow tragedy of watching her husband, Jaan (Abhijit Das) gradually fade away due to alcoholism brought on by financial stress. The film portrays not only how the pandemic has altered Jaan’s life but of the fate of the entire town. The atmosphere depicts a town gradually recovering from a lockdown, characterized by a sense of unrest due to the distribution of essential supplies, the constant wailing of ambulances, and the anxiety surrounding COVID-19 testing, and quarantine facilities.

Jaan’s economic problems arise from his failing business venture. His restaurant and bakery do not generate enough money to keep business operations running smoothly owing to the uncertainty of a post-pandemic world. However, despite all his troubles, he is generous to his employees, people from his locality, and animals. He constantly juggles his responsibilities as a business owner and his familial duty as a father to Manu (Purbanchali Das) and Bhargav (Bhuman Bhargav Das). Although a good-hearted man, Jaan’s vice is his drinking. He turns to hooch to deal with the troubles of everyday life. His addiction worsens and eventually becomes the cause of his drifting away from Tora. Through intricate cinematic details in every frame, we see how Tora struggles to bear all of this. Despite her challenges, she takes solace in the small pleasures of nurturing her children but her mental strength is constantly put to the test.

Jaan and Tora with their children
Jaan and Tora with their childrenRima Das

"The story of my protagonist reflects my personal journey living and working amidst the pandemic. In the midst of loss, lockdowns and life, we shot the film over two years. Shooting this film was more challenging than shooting my previous films because the pandemic restricts you in many ways. There was this constant feeling of fear and restlessness, which my characters also depict."

Rima Das in an interview with The Hindu

Rima Das dedicated Tora’s Husband to her father Bharat Chandra Das, who passed away during the pandemic. There are distinct dualities throughout the film that are portrayed with poignant grace. These are momentary joys contrasted with a looming sense of despair. There is also an innate thematic universality in the film to which every viewer can effortlessly relate and this makes it an absolute must-watch.

Watch the trailer below: