Free Press Journal

Movie Review: Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho – A tedious attempt at Socio-politicalSatire


Miss Tanakpur

Cast:Annu kapoor, Hrishita Bhatt, Om Puri, Rahul Bagga, Ravi Kishen

Director: Vinod Kapri

Rating: * *

The filmmaker claims this film to be loosely based on a newspaper story coming out of Rajasthan where a young boy was supposedly sentenced to jail for having allegedly raped a buffalo. Debut making director Vinod Kapri would certainly know the veracity of this story considering that he is an award winning scribe from India TV who admittedly has taken his first few steps towards a fledgling career in filmmaking.

The story has been reset in Haryana and Kapri gets all his lead actors speaking in forked Haryanvi-Hindi-English combo that  may not sit well with a lay audience. The Pradhan of Tanakpur, Sualal Gandhas(Annu Kapoor) is especially fond of carving English words out from his traditional Haryanvi tongue. He has a young wife Maya (Hrishita Bhatt) who is quite careless about being found out while flirting about with a local youngster Arjun( Rahul Bagga) who aspires to be a police hawaldar. The Pradhan who has erectile dysfunction seeks the help of a hakim and a local tantric helps him out with his suspicions regarding his wife’s faithlessness. It doesn’t take long for the Pradhan to catch Maya and Arjun in a compromising position and he and his co-conspirators (Sanjay Mishra and Ravi Kishen) are quick to mete out tribal justice.

After beating the man up and running a bike over his legs, they tie him to a bullock cart and leave him there for the entire village to see. They also fabricate a charge of rape- claiming Arjun raped the pradhan’s prize-winning bullock, Miss Tanakpur and even have the Tantric (Sanjay Mishra) vouching for it as the sole eye-witness.  The farce gets weirder when an FIR is lodged with the conveniently corrupt local thanedaar (Om Puri) and goes all the way to court – wherein the ridiculousness of the entire enterprise is shown up as such. Director Vinod Kapri plays it straight and without any nuance or underlying heft. So the satire falls flat on its nose and the socio-political implications are lost in all the noise and confusion arising out of trying to keep the main thread intact. No doubt , having a bullock play rape victim , is intriguing on paper but on film it’s quite off-putting. Kapri neither has the guile or smarts to convey the deep schisms within society that led to such a preposterous incident taking place in the real world.

A little inventiveness and craft combined with some smart writing would have been enough to make this a sharper more gratifying experience. But alas, Kapri is just not up to the task. His idea of satire is entirely situation based and loses efficacy because of it. Good solid performances by Annu Kapoor, Rahul Bagga, Ravi Kishen, Sanjay Mishra go a little way in ameliorating the incredulity experienced here!