Tashan's got guts. I never thought I'd actually be sitting and writing this in a review, but I am- and not without reason. It's a brave (albeit, foolhardy) film because it apparently doesn't want to please everyone, or actually anyone. You either accepts it for what it is, or totally junks it.
Or maybe it's just plain stupid. Maybe it does try to please, tries too hard- and falls quite flat on its attractive face. Whatever may be the case, I am going with the former (and probably lot less agreed with) discourse on the film. Maybe it's because after being subjected to weeks of mostly pure torture at the cinemas, I have actually managed to come out half alive out of a film.
Maybe because reactions to this film remind me of the ones that greeted another strangely similar film from the 'prestigious' Yash Raj banner last year- yes, Tashan is already being talked of as the Jhoom Barabar Jhoom of this year- 'all style, no substance'. Or maybe it's because I've gone soft, or because I've run out of polite expletives, or because I'm fed up of being cynical. This is my review, and I'm going to say what I want to- take it, or junk it.
No, it is not a very good film- please, I mean well, and thus what I say must not be misconstrued to mean that Tashan should pull you into theatres and into buying tickets for obscene amounts of money. I don't think too much of the film, but I can't say I didn't like its spirit and attitude- or its Tashan, if you please. This is refreshingly unpretentious filmmaking from Vijay Krishna Acharya- eccentric, outrageous and zanily over-the-top. And that is why despite acknowledging that the film ultimately works only because of its pure-dynamite cast, what I admire is the fact that this film makes no bones of what it's really about- which is The Ishtyle, The Goodluck, and The Pharmoola (as its posters brazenly declare).
Need I mention that the film's unabashedly bizarre story is also as thin as its leading lady? Not that the story really matters, and hence all I'm telling you is that yes, Kareena Kapoor did sport a two-piece bikini (hush-hush!), and no, she didn't tragically die of malnutrition in the end.
Tashan begins with quite a bang, with stylish graphic novel-like credits and a riveting, fast shot opening sequence involving a red Mercedes convertible fashionably skidding across the sands of Ladakh, set to a soundtrack that crazily alternates between Highway to Hell and Kabhie Kabhie. That quite cleverly manages to set the tone for the rest of the film- go-for-broke, giddy, even bumpy, but never quite boring, captured wonderfully in bright Technicolor hues by cinematographer Ayananka Bose.
Why I enjoyed Tashan is not because Acharya succeeds at fulfilling his mad, almost impossible ambition of making a spectacle without a script- he doesn't, and just as well- but sometimes it's fun to see a filmmaker dare to make something so whimsically indulgent, so what if all the (over) confidence is actually quite misplaced. That's what endeared Tashan to me personally, the fact that Acharya tries to take a bite at a hugely audacious idea, even if he doesn't manage to chew it ultimately.
But even if the film is a let-down in terms of writing, which is mostly clumsy and inconsistent, lacking any real wit or inventiveness, the cast does manage to keep things somewhat upbeat throughout the film's moderate length- well, almost. Akshay Kumar is the undoubtedly single-most popularly appealing factor in the film, and it's no surprise he steals the show and walks away with loudest applause, drawing louder hoots and whistles than even his 'size-zero' co-star. The comic timing- even if over familiar by now- is good as gold, and Kumar makes the most of his immensely likeable character. Anil Kapoor manages to get guffaws at first, that with his superb 'Inglish' rendition of Deewar's cult dialogue, but his increasingly bizarre (mis) use of the Queen's language means that the laughs get fewer with time and his