Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho
Director: Vinod Kapri
Cast: Ravi Kishan, Rahul Bagga, Hrishitaa Bhatt, Sanjay Mishra and Om Puri
Director Vinod Kapri's Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho, an honest attempt at highlighting the negatives of small-town India, starts on the wrong foot, and never recovers from this basic flaw. Consider this: When a film opens to a close-up shot of a bra shop in a street market and the next 10 minutes are dedicated to what the filmmaker thought was a joke on how women buy their undergarments in our villages (because they have no idea of their 'sizes'), you know very well the shape of things to come in the next two hours.
Miss Tanakpur... starts with the promise that it is a satire, a social commentary no less, but director Vinod Kapri lets the narrative slip into an immensely forgettable compilation of crass situations and characters. Yes, Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho loses its plot, and its audience, in the first ten minutes.
Kapri, a journalist-turned-filmmaker, claims that his debut venture is based on (a 'dramatised' version, mind you) of true events. "There are some stories which you cannot say in two columns or a half-an-hour time slot. Some stories you need to tell with more detailing. It was about a boy who was sentenced five years of jail for raping a buffalo. I got intrigued by the story and visited the village in Rajasthan, met the boy, his family, the accusers, doctors, lawyers, veterinary doctors and interesting stories started to unfold," he had said in an interview.
Now you know what the film is about? It is about a man (Rahul Bagga) who is falsely accused by the village head (Annu Kapoor) that he has raped a buffalo. The village head also gets the khap panchayat to pass a verdict that he must marry the buffalo, Miss Tanakpur.
Starring Annu Kapoor, Ravi Kishen, Hrishitaa Bhatt and Om Puri in lead roles, crassness is not the only flaw in Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho. It's satire, more specifically satire that is not biting enough, is another big problem with this film. To be fair, the film tries to talk about mostly everything that plagues our villages: False police cases as tools to harrass poor villagers, misogyny, even hypocrisy that passes of as rituals in our society. But the sad part is that Kapri, who's also written the film, fails to tell a cohesive story in the 135 minutes he's got. For all the satire he's tried to pull off, he only manages to use the lamest, and the most absurd metaphors. From examining the victim to the narrative on the investigations, and even the arguments in the court, this film not only goofs up the metaphors everywhere, it even mocks rape survivors and the trauma of innocent people being framed in false cases.
Rahul Bagga in Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho.
The ‘rape victim’ in the film is a buffalo and Kapri tries to weave this absurd world around this thin idea. The trouble is, while he's at it, he also decides to throw in a bit of everything just to give the film some authenticity: So we have Kapri's take on bribery to corrupt sarkari babus to even a long take on how the woman is supposed to be the 'family honour'.... You get the drift? This film is not going anywhere.
What is sadder, if not dangerous, is that Kapri has simply managed to trivialise the very problems he aims to target. There is nothing remotely funny in this film. You cannot expect your audience to laugh at jokes on rape, the trauma of a rape survivor or the torture of an innocent man caught in a false case.
In his effort to make a realistic film, Kapri has ended up with cheap and vulgar dialogues and crude portrayal of the milieu where his story is set. The excessive use of cuss words and explicit jokes are too forced to even bring a smile on your face.
Despite actors like Om Puri, Sanjay Mishra and Ravi Kishan, even the performances are not up to the mark. While Om Puri and Sanjay Mishra seem to be victims of the over-dramatised screenplay, the others, like Hrishitaa Bhatt, Ravi Kishan and Rahul Bagga, seem to be sleepwalking through the shooting.
The writer tweets @Twitter/swetakaushal
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