BOTTOM LINE: Testosterone And Emotions Run Amok In This Slick Neo Noir Drama
Rating: 6.5 /10
Skin N Swear: Graphic & gruesome violence; a few not-too-explicit lovemaking scenes
|Platform: Zee5||Genre: Drama, Thriller|
What Is the Story About?
ZEE5‘s new thriller Taish, which has the singular distinction of being released as a 6-part series — with each episode around 30 minutes long — as well as a 2-hour feature film, is a testosterone-laden action drama, with the theme of revenge as its driving force. It has been written and directed by Bejoy Nambiar, in his trademark neo noir style of filmmaking. Kartik R. Iyer, Anjali Nair and Gunjit Chopra are the co-writers of Taish. Bejoy Nambiar is also the producer, along with Nishant Pitti, Deepak Mukut, Shivanshu Pandey and Rikant Pitti.
Taish — which is Hindi for impulsive rage, passion, high emotion — is a story of what happens when the aforementioned is allowed to take control over better sense and practicality. The narrative unfolds entirely in London. Rohan Kalra (Jim Sarbh) and Sunny (Pulkit Samrat) are best buddies, who always have each other’s back through thick and thin. Rohan is a doctor, in love with Pakistani surgeon Arfa (Kriti Kharbanda). The story begins at the wedding of Rohan’s younger brother, Krish (Ankur Rathee). The Kalras are rich, educated and sophisticated.
On the other end of the spectrum are the Brars, a gangster family from Southall, ready to indulge in unspeakable acts of violence at the drop of a hat. For those not in the know, Southall is a part of London often called ‘Little Punjab’, for its surfeit of Punjabi and Sikh inhabitants. Pali Brar (Harshvardhan Rane) is the black sheep of the family, a family that is ruled with an iron hand by elder brother, Kuljinder Brar (Abhimanyu Singh). Pali is engaged in a tragic love affair with Jahaan (Sanjeeda Shaikh) that has left him wounded and unhinged.
The revelation of a dark secret of the past involving Rohan and Kuljinder leads to a savage clash of the two clans, and triggers an avalanche of violence that mangles the two families beyond repair.
Jim Sarbh has got the most layered role of his Hindi film career up till now. And he manages to impress, despite his sometimes wooden expressions and stilted delivery of dialogue. He pulls off both, the passionate outbursts as well as the sensitive moments, with finesse. Sanjeeda Shaikh looks luminous as the quietly simmering Jahaan. She has rendered a fine portrayal of the helpless, love-lorn woman with a bleak chance of a happily ever after.
Pulkit Samrat displays textbook efficiency as the short-fused Sunny. His performance has that certain something that kicks viewers at the core. Kriti Kharbanda, as Arfa, manages to get most of the acting right. Watch out for the dinner table sequence at Krish’s wedding, more specifically, her dignified sparring with Kalra Sr.
Zoa Morani, Viraf Patel, Ankur Rathee, Saurabh Sachdeva and Sonal Batra lend admirable support. They are the keystones of the narrative, holding it together. The underlying tensions between Zoa’s Mahi and Ankur’s Krish are a welcome distraction in the narrative.
The jewel in the performing crown, however, is undoubtedly Harshvardhan Rane. The man is simply superb in his role as the unpredictable hothead, Pali. He portrays the astonishing ability to go from bullheaded, crazed, raging maniac one minute to tender, childlike, besotted lover in the next. The phrase “making love with his eyes” must most certainly have been written with Harsha in mind. His eyes convey a wealth of emotion that dialogue would fall short for. Here is one actor who is grossly, and dare we say, criminally underrated and underused by Indian cinema. Harshvardhan Rane is very easily the best thing about Taish.
Taish has the unique proposition of being available to watch as a shorter, crisper movie or a long-format series. We watched the series, and found it a compelling watch. The narrative does not suffer even an iota because of the length. It is racy, enthralling and keeps you on tenterhooks. The non-linear style of storytelling keeps the viewer engaged and alert, lest something is missed.
The humour in the movie is genuinely funny — not the laugh out loud kind, but the kind that keeps you smiling goofily while it plays out on screen. The bromance between Sunny, Rohan, Krish and Shozi (Viraf Patel) is fun and frolicsome. The romance between Rohan and Arfa, and Pali and Jahaan is captured in a delicately refined manner save for the prison-cell lovemaking between the latter.
The reveal in the middle of the story — both Rohan and Sunny’s — seems a bit underwhelming at first, but when you ponder over it for a few minutes, you realise the life-altering effect it can have on tender psyches. Taish is a story where, drunk on the powerful aphrodisiac of testosterone, the protagonists allow their primeval, animal instincts to run amok. And Bejoy Nambiar captures it splendidly on screen with goosebump-inducing skill.
The final throes of the climax, choreographed to the haunting number ‘Main Jee Raha Hoon’ by Lifafa, is riveting, and unlike any in recent times. It stays seared in your mind for hours afterwards. As do several scenes in the series – the lakeside scene after one of the gruesome killings in the narrative, and the discovery of the body; the dinner sequence at the wedding, with some terrific dialogues that make it worthwhile, and some more.
Of course, several subplots are super cringe-worthy. The Prison Break style prison sequences are quite dispensable, to be honest. As is the ploy to project Saloni Batra’s Sanober as the female crime lord in the absence of the males. But these are easily forgiven in lieu of the larger picture.
While the story of Taish is nothing revolutionary by any means, it is its manner of telling that makes the series a compelling one. Watch it for Bejoy Nambiar’s neo noir style of filmmaking, if for nothing else.
Music and Other Departments?
Taish is one of the rare OTT offerings with memorable music. Composed by Gaurav Godkhindi and Govind Vasantha and Raghav Sachar, it has several numbers that may make it to play lists. Re Bawree, composed by Govind Vasantha, and sung by Prarthna Indrajith and Govind Vasantha is one such number. Kol Kol by Raghav Sachar and sung by Mohan Kannan is another.
Priyank Prem Kumar’s editing is picture-perfect, as is Harshvir Oberai’s cinematography. The latter has played with colours, textures, tones and shot structuring, to lend credence to Nambiar’s vision and distinctive filmmaking.
Classic neo noir treatment
Several cringey subplots
Not so novel plot
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Taish Web Series Review by Binged Bureau
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