Director: Piyush Gupta
Cast: Huma Qureshi, Sharib Hashmi, and others
Where: Streaming on ZEE5
Rating: 3 Stars
Debutant filmmaker Piyush Gupta, who has been associated with maverick filmmaker couple Nitesh Tiwari and Ashwini Iyer Tiwari for many years, brings a heartwarming tale of the late celebrated chef Tarla Dalal to the world. Piyush manages to delve into the slice-of-life genre so well, that it makes Tarla a sweet mandatory watch. However, the film somewhat disappoints with its predictable screenplay but still surprises a lot more.
Tarla (Huma Qureshi) dreams to do something big in her life but her family pushes her to marry Nalin Kumar (Sharib Hashmi), an engineer by profession. She agrees only to follow her heart after marriage. Ten years down the line, Tarla gets busy raising three kids and running a livelihood until Nalin encourages her to publish her recipes in a cookbook.
We all know the success story of Tarla Dalal, who became a household name after her cookbook became widely popular. First-time director Piyush has meticulously documented her life on the canvas. Although, the narrative is a replica of the set formula of Indian biopics, which is a point of concern.
Filmmakers and writers should crack some code to write human dramas on the backdrop of someone’s real life. An underdog being triumphant in the end is an extremely monotonous and lazy approach. Barring MS Dhoni: An Untold Story (2016), which had a national sentiment attached to it, all biopics made in the Hindi film industry look alike in terms of storytelling.
Piyush bravely indulges his story with topical issues of patriarchy, gender disparity in a middle-class household, insecurities of a male to a successful working woman, etc. Tarla is beyond just a women-centric film. The director is sensitive enough to highlight a woman’s empathy in a dignified manner unlike a recent film that is a story of a miserable woman told through a man’s heroism.
Tarla has a stark resemblance to the Vidya Balan starrer Tumhari Sulu (2017) but is set in a different backdrop. The beauty of Tarla is that this film is not only about a chef but also about her intrapersonal relationships with her neighbours, husband and kids.
Huma’s physicality is an issue in the portrayal of Tarla but she is a hardworking artiste. Not for a moment, she mimicked or copied Tarla in delivering her dialogues. Sharib Hashmi, who bags his first-ever mainstream male lead role besides Phullu and Darbaan, is phenomenal as Nalin. His presence in the film contributes a lot to a film like Tarla, which is from the title to its protagonist, a female-oriented film.
Tarla is an emotionally driven story that needs to be told to the world but don’t expect an extraordinary high or low in the film throughout just for the sake of drama.