Tanashah Movie Review: Gritty but rather pointless

Film: Tanashah

Cast: Dilip Arya, Shashi Chaturvedi, Ravi Khandwailkar, Laura Mishra, Jeetu Shastri, Indraneel Bhattacharya

Director: Ritam Srivastav

Rating: **

This dacoit/outlaw drama opens in impressive haunting brutality. We see a villainous ageing, widowed zamindar, Daddan, ruthlessly and viciously wiping out a bride and her parents on her wedding day – only because they dared to reject his suit. So, it’s his Taanashahi alright. But it isn’t long before the surviving older brother of the bride, Shiva Kumar (Dilip Arya) goes on a vendetta spiel wiping out Daddan and his henchmen - leaving behind a trail of death and destruction in his wake. Now, its time for Shiva Kumar to go outlaw, team up with a gang of Dacoits led by the ridiculous and fast-losing-his-mental-balance, Raja Rangoli(Jeetu Shastri). Thereafter it’s about continuing their reign of terror and staying one step ahead of the politicians and police who have found a new evangelist willing to risk it all to wipe out the terror posed by these ravaging bandits.

The narrative starts out by being gritty and gripping but soon loses its way into a morass of predictability and deja vu. We’ve seen so many infinitely better and distinctive films right from Mujhe Jeene Do to Bandit Queen to Sonchirya that this substandard generic of crime drama tends to the passé. There’s nothing new to tell here - other than the initially distinctive portrayal of violence. Ritam Srivastav’s helming fails to rustle up sequences of import. So his effort to tell this story fails to be distinctive or progressively appealing. In fact the buffoonish hamming by Jeetu Shastri ( who essays an important role as Outlaw leader Raja Rangoli) trivialises the entire effort that was designed to give this film a serious sheen. Shot in the ravines surrounding Bundelkhand, the camerawork is suitably rustic but there’s not much sharpness or edge in the narration. Most of the performers have heft but the wishy-washy rendering doesn’t allow for any intimate affect.

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