Taish Review: Bejoy Nambiar is a filmmaker whose movies always give precedence to style and presentation over impactful narration. This is also evident in his latest effort, Taish streaming on Zee5, right from the opening scene where Pulkit Samrat's Sunny beats the shite out of a gangster in a washroom of a pub. The stage for a huge conflict is set, as we go back and forward in time to understand why the man, Kuljinder (Abhimanyu Singh) deserve such a beating, and what happens next. [Exclusive] Taish Actor Pulkit Samrat: I Respect Kriti Kharbanda as a Colleague First (Watch Video).
The effervescent Sunny is in UK to attend his best friend Rohan (Jim Sarbh)'s younger brother Krish (Ankur Rathee)'s wedding to his girlfriend Mahi (Zoa Morani) in 10 days. Rohan, whose underdog status sticks out in his uber-rich family like his accent, is also going through some turmoil in his relationship with his Pakistani girlfriend Aarfa (Kriti Kharbanda). The groom and the bride also have their own issue going on, though the wedding festivities continue to happen.
In the other extreme, we get to know more of Kuljinder's world, especially through the eyes of his hot-headed, damaged younger brother Paali (Harshvardhan Rane). Paali, who controls a gang in Southall, is seething about the fact that his love Jahaan (Sanjeeda Sheikh) has married Kuljinder. The worlds of Sunny, Rohan and Paali violently collide that very night when Sunny bashes Kuljinder, creating a dangerous Dominos' effect of bloodthirsty revenge that spares no one.
Watch The Trailer of Taish:
In continuing what I referred to in my first para, Bejoy Nambiar's presentation is something that makes him stand out as a filmmaker. His films, however, comes across as more of a mixed bag affair, more misses than hits there. His Taish reflects that trait - it is stylishly presented, has some really good moments but in the end, leaves you underwhelmed.
The three male leads of the film - Sunny, Rohan and Paali - are all flawed men who deals with injured male bravados, each in their own ways, caring less on how it would affect the people around them. If Rohan deals with his trauma with an resigned acceptance, then Sunny needs an outlet to let go of his own past guilt. And then there is Paali, who is violent and unpredictable and yet a tragic figure in his own life-story. While Sunny and Rohan's tale shows the idiosyncrasies of the elite, then Paali's portions, mostly spoken in Punjabi, is dark and gritty, dealing with mob violence. Also Nambiar seems to recall Neil Nitin Mukesh's segment in his own David while narrating Paali's story.
The women in their lives turn out to be collateral damage in their pursuit of soothing their anger and egos - be it Jahaan who, save for rebelling against her marriage to Kuljinder by sleeping with Paali, loses her convocation mid-way. Or the feisty Aarfa, who suffers emotionally for being a supportive girlfriend. Or Sunny's pregnant sister, who has her own past trauma, that he uses as a justification to what he did when he beats Kuljinder. The one female character to leave the most impact is Saloni Batra's Sanober, married into Paali's family, a victim in her own right and yet stronger than the men in her household and beyond. However, some of the portions involving Jahaan and Paali feel ill-timed, in the wake of the country recently reeling from two well-covered attacks on women by their jilted lovers.
Surprisingly, in a film where characters keep screaming at each other and later turns into a grim revenge saga, it is the quieter moments that work the most for Taish. Be it the dinner table conversation where Aarfa puts her prospective father-in-law's narrow-mindedness in place, while Rohan stands up for her. Or that moment in the pier where Rohan tells Sunny that how he deals with his trauma is his own fight and no one else's. Taish works best in the calm moments before the storm. Finding the characters deal with pathos, guilt and sense of loss in their own damaged ways give Taish more credibility than its revenge saga. OTT Releases Of The Week: Harshvardhan Rane’s Taish on ZEE5, Mandalorian Season 2 on Disney+ Hotstar, Simon Pegg’s Truth Seekers on Amazon Prime and More.
What I didn't like about the film/series is the non-linear narrative that Nambiar imposes in the first half, perhaps to make Taish feel more compelling. Instead, it feels distracting and over-stylized, especially when the second half takes a more linear route. While the third act feels more thrilling pitting the men against each other, it is underserved by the number of loopholes and a contrived storytelling.
The cast, more or less, does justice to the film. Though his accent stands out from the people around him, Sarbh, cast against type, brings a quieter range into his performance that serves his character well. Pulkit Samrat has improved quite well as a performer and it shows in his act in Taish - he is very convincing as the loyal friend, haunted by the guilt of his actions. Sanjeeda Sheikh is effective as trapped-by-her-circumstances Jahaan and Kriti Kharbanda does decently enough as Aarfa, shining the most in the aforementioned dinner table scene. Saloni Batra is terrific in whichever she brings her elegant presence in. But the movie truly belongs to Harshvardhan Rane, whose implosive performance manages to turn his calamitous Paali from being a hateful figure to someone operating out of his misery.
Taish also benefits from its engaging soundtrack, with my personal fave being Govind Vasantha's "Re Bawree", though the songs don't really eat up much screentime. And like with most Bejoy Nambiar films, Taish is technically competent with the cinematography (Harashvir Oberoi) being striking enough, though it could have been shorter.
- Engaging in Parts
- Overstylised At Times
- A Contrived Third Act
Taish is not a usual revenge thriller, but is more about characters dealing with guilt and trauma in their own conflicted ways. It is engaging in parts and features good performances, though it doesn't leave a lasting impact. Taish is streaming on Zee5.