“Tadap Wince Bitten Twice Shy” – A Subhash K Jha Review

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Starring Ahan Shetty, Tara Sutaria

Directed by Milan Luthria

When the moment of wreck-oning arrives for our new action hero, the double-faced heroine, now standing exposed (in more than one) is shown puffing on a cancer stick(a.k.a cigarette).

This is how much Hindi mainstream cinema has evolved: bad girls smoke. I guess that’s what makes Tara Sutaria smoking-hot in a film that smoulders and simmers in its own steaming juices and finally collapses in an exhausted heap of muddled morality.

But don’t say you were not warned. When Tara’s Ramisa first sees Ahan’s Inshaana dancing the camera follows her eyes to his pelvis region. No self-respecting heroine’s gaze fall so slow.

Initially, Tadap is designed as purely a star-vehicle for its debutante hero. Ahan Shetty walks towards the camera in slo-mo shots, balances himself on his beloved mo’bike, clenches his fists and flashes his wrists, all for love.

For the first 90 minutes Tadap is like a logbook on the love-conquers-all-loutish-behaviour syndrome. Ishaana is a brooding brawny hoodlum, almost an avatar of Jackie Shroff in Subhash Ghai’s Hero. The camera which seems to love shooting itself in the foot in search of frisky footage is a reliable ally for the debutant hero’s hero-giri. Bad Boys love a good weed joint and high-speed bikes. Ishaana ticks all the boxes, and then some more.

Ahan as Ishaana makes all the right moves. While Pritam tries to make all the right noises. One colourful song has young Shetty and his leading lady singing and dancing in a carnival setting, before, ahem, making out.

“The kiss wasn’t right,” rues Ramisa, the objectified subject of Ishaana’s adoration.She then proceeds to kiss her lover-boy every five minutes for the next half an hour, to get it right. By then, Ishaana is too far gone to care whether there is a world beyond the bliss of the kiss and the luck of the…never mind!

Sadly, there is. A bleak bloody bestial world of broken dreams and shattered bones. Once the misogynistic angle of the bewafaa sanam sets in to the breathless plot, there is no respite from the reign of brutality. Through all of this madness and mayhem the love-crazy Ishaana keeps mumbling, ‘I love Ramisa’.

If only his Daddy (played with habitual heft by Saurabh Shukla) had spanked his son hard in childhood. Maybe his sense of judgement about women and other immediate matters would have been better. Maybe then, we wouldn’t have to watch a film so steeped in self-gratification it ends up portraying the heroine as a slut.

Ramisa smokes, drinks, and mouths murderous anti-love dialogues as if she was a thinner version of the 1970s’ vamp Bindu. Tadap seems stuck in a time warp. In one cruel moment of insensitivity Ramisa describes Inshaan’s love as ‘Telegram during the era of Instagram’.

This seems pretty much an apt description for the film: warring fathers(Saurabh Shukla versus Kumud Mishra), bloodthirsty henchman, a lineage–conscious granny and a warmhearted café owner Aunty who gives the love-crazed Ishaan the best advice I heard in the film. “Why don’t you move on?”

Yes, why don’t we all just move on hoping that mainstream Hindi cinema will one day, grow out of its infantile fixation on primitive formulas and outdated traditions.

Our Rating

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