Journalist Vinod Kapris debut feature Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho is one of those rare films that initial brim with the potential of becoming a thoroughly thought-provoking drama but ends up as a confused mockumentary. It is neither a serious, dark film nor a satire, but the unwanted offspring of two vastly conflicting genres.
In a North Indian village, an undeniably sexy-looking Hrishitaa Bhatt is married off to elderly and impotent village-head Annu Kapoor who spends his time hanging out with bestie Ravi Kishan. Due to her marital frustrations, Hrishitaa slyly starts a scandalous affair (after all its a village where the biggest attraction is a buffalo show) with Rahul Bagga who, lets just say is the Varun Dhawan equivalent in the aforementioned hamlet. It takes an hour of precious screen-time for uncle Annu to bust the young duo in action (all with Rahul resting on the leading ladys breasts). Soon enough, Rahul is bruised, bloodied and left exasperated although it is tough to tell if its him whos in more pain or the audience.
To get away with his ghastly act, Annu Kapoor falsely implicates Rahul accusing him of raping a buffalo. What follows will leave even buffalos baffled, let alone popcorn-munching moviegoers. Inspired by a true event that occurred in Rajasthan, the premise had enough potential to be a rib-tickling satire while subtly conveying the toothlessness of our so-called democracy. However, the writing is so weak and contrived and the performances so unbelievably tacky, the film feels like a cheap theatre production where the director never returned back on set from his/her tea-break.
Expository dialogue, unfunny situations and an over-the-top Sanjay Mishra make matters worse when you are looking at a film that is bad storytelling at its worst. You arent interested in any character, you have no idea where the film is headed or what the point of this exercise actually is until the interval when the conflict is first established. By this time, youve lost complete faith in the filmmaker as a bunch of incredibly good actors ham their way into this slaughterhouse where tatti rhymes with matti a line were supposed to find hilarious.
From Dum Laga Ke Haisha to Tanu Weds Manu Returns, films set in the Northern hinterland worked because they made their milieu appear attractive and idiosyncratic, something an urban denizen would cheer for. But Tanakpurs world is full of boring people cracking substandard jokes, and studio-shot fakeness. While one goes inside the theatre hoping to discover an indie gem like Peepli (Live), what we come out with is the kind of expression you give only when you smell buffalo-fart.
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