Akshay steals the show in outrageous, overdramatic 'Tashan'
| Subhash K. Jha
The threesome - Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan - on the way to god-knows-where need to escape from the cops. They get into blonde wigs and tight 'American' costumes and turn into item dancers for a Hollywood project called Holy Widows. "Tashan" is so full of the milk of human zaniness that you feel it may at any moment topple over under the weight of its own cleverness.
If the bizarre brew of the cunning and the cool holds together it's mainly because of Akshay and Kareena, who create a kaleidoscopic chemistry of crime and no punishment.
The trio redeem themselves by the end of the film. As for the fourth, the villain played with feverish flatulent flamboyance by Anil Kapoor, you can't win them all.
"Tashan" is a winner in unexpected ways. First-time director Vijay Krishna Acharya spears the content to a dashboard that dashes all over the place.
Most of "Tashan" is a zany kookie ribald and riveting road movie about a naÃ¯ve wannabe criminal Bachchan Pandey (Akshay) and an English tutor named Jimmy Cliff (Saif) trapped into a heist by a crime lord who wants to learn English in haste.
Amoral, pouty, super-sculpted seductress Pooja (Kareena) plays up the two men against one another and often breaks into steamy songs and provocative dances that suggest no link between the tale of the Uttar Pradesh bhaiyya, angrezi masterji and the Kanpuri coquette and the world that cultivates such freaked out misfits.
Crime capers and road movies about characters who often get into outlandish costumes and foreign wigs at laconic locales have become a favourite at Yashraj.
Stories of small town people dreaming big have come and grown. "Bunty Aur Babli" worked. "Jhoom Barabaar Jhoom" did not. "Tashan" surreptitiously slips into the workable stratosphere, thanks to its super-motorized manoeuvres that take the plot into an area of utter originality.
Love it or loath it, you've never seen a Hindi film like "Tashan" before. Outrageous, over-the-top, opulent and audacious, the debutant director turns formulistic conventions inside out and upside down.
"Tashan" constructs a fool's paradise of wanderers in search of that pot of gold at the end of the studio-generated rainbow.
Art director Sukant Panigrahy and cinematographer Ayananka Bose have as much fun with the art decor and locations as two kids doing water colour in kindergarten. The swirl of delightfully and daring adventures as the greasy characters travel across Greece and India in search of anything but peace is quite a gravity challenging achievement.
The actors seem to be having loads of fun. Whether we share it or not, is entirely our outlook. If the truth be told, the only one who seems to catch hold of the director's vision in totality is Akshay. Man, what a delightfully naÃ¯ve-and-knowing interpretation of the small-town criminal's rise to fame and his helpless surrender to love. In the light of the artless world of naÃ¯ve brutality that he builds for his character, Akshay's get-up (crew-cut, crotch-hugging trousers) makes sense.
I'm not very sure why Kareena needed to re-sculpt her body to play the small-time schemer or the relevance of Saif's dropping moustache.
In fact Saif's relevance to the film escapes me. He rushes in as though to work over-time after "Race". He seems to have no idea of the rhythm required for this extravagant take-off on Bollywood's meanest conventions and his set-expressions are more annoying than illuminating.
Anil's role of a criminal with his craving to master English is a monstrous aberration from the past - a Mogambo from the stylised den in "Mr. India" let loose in the city to create a free-funded havoc.
Akshay steals the show in almost every frame. Watch him in that tricky boat sequence with Kareena in Allahabad (yes we're taken from Uttar Pradesh to Greece to Rajasthan to Ladakh in this jerky joyride from here to eternity) where he gets to know she is his teenage sweetheart from the town that<
Critic: Subhash K. Jha
2.5 out of 5 (Fairly Good)
WHAT THE RATINGS MEAN:
0.0 - 1.4 : Poor
1.5 - 1.7: Poor, A Few Good Parts
1.8 - 2.3: Okay
2.4 - 2.9: Fairly Good
3.0 - 3.4: Good
3.5 - 5.0: Very Good
Other Critic Reviews
I don't think too much of the film, but have to say I rather liked its spirit, its attitude- or it's Tashan, if you please. This is refreshingly unpretentious filmmaking from Vijay Krishna Acharya- eccentric, outrageous and zanily over-the-top.
By Jahan Bakshi
Overall, Tashan is a weak product, badly directed with a nonsensical storyline and average music.
By Ashok Nayak