Sunday, January 18, 2015

Movie Review: Tevar

The moment in Tevar when Manoj Bajpayee says 'Jo chane khaate hai wo badam ke paad nahi maarte', one is sure of what this film is about. 

One becomes even more assured of this film, when, in another moment Bajpayee’s kidnap and potentially rape victim Sonakshi Sinha runs away, and Bajpayee permanently takes off his pants to proclaim ‘Pant upar tab hi chadhegi jab Baby waapas mil aayegi’.

Starting off the new year with the bang of a stinkbomb, Tevar is a reassurance of the fact that no matter how budgets, technology and the human race advance in time, Bollywood would keep reverting back to the 80’s.

Tevar is directed by Amit Sharma, a well respected ad filmmaker but the film seems like it was made by the central character from The Human Centipede. Yet again, we have a remake of an already terrible South film. Yet again we have a heroine who is not only proud to play a mere object but also an embarrassment to woman empowerment in cinema. Yet again we have a gunda mawali hero clashing with the local gunda mawali villain to whisk away the moronic woman that he even more moronically loves.  Yet again we have a barrage of eardrum piercing massy songs, migraine inducing dialogue baazi, rage-rendering lapses in logic, eyeball squeezing violence and head pummeling instances of contrived melodrama.

Done right, all these things can either be a lot of fun, if not a lot of headache. Tevar furiously lunges on to the latter.

Arjun made an interesting impression in his first movie, but since then he’s played just variations of the same character in Gundey and now in Tevar. He wears sidey clothes. He is a kabaddi champ. He is the quintessential roadside Romeo who also happens to save women from being picked upon. After being hit by bullets and knives, he first falls down to make us believe he’s dead, and then like a WWF wrestler he screams and shouts and gives the goons a proper whooping. Clearly he’s been cast in this movie as a vanity vehicle to create the new Salman Khan. How well do you think this idea would work?

Sonakshi, after playing a character who wants to see the hero’s nether regions for good luck in her previous movie shockingly outdoes herself. Her character is the sister of a respected news channel head, who is off to the US for the post graduation, and also a dancer, and also someone who would rather hide in the house of a goon than go to the police, who after days of running away from a murderous and rapey rowdy finally reaches the airport, checks in, gets her ticket to the US, and comes back out to be in the arms of a rowdy she met two days ago.

Why is the concept of love been degraded to something so asinine to make an already regressive audience even more vacuous? Why are these elements present in a film of this day and age, when Bollywood is supposed to make an impression in world cinema? Why are desi filmmakers assuming that even the lowest common denominator of audiences deserve to be subjected to brutal torture. Why even with gigantic budgets do films like Tevar even look like crap? Why would any audience pay money to see a movie that looks, sounds, plays out and even feels ugly as hell? Even under the garb of ‘commercial masala’ why are the fight scenes so dull, why are the stunts so clumsy looking, and why is the comedy so awful it makes you want to suddenly get off your seat, run towards the cinema screen and smash your face against it?

Until anyone from the creative team of Tevar has answers to any of these questions, I leave you with a rap song inspired by the beats and lyrics of Let’s Celebrate:

The tagline of this movie
Tells you to show your Tevar
But this movie ain’t groovy
Covering your eyes is a life saver
Arjun tries a Salman Khan doodie
While Sonakshi is as if she’s doing us a favor
Regression is her hoodie
Or maybe it’s the only talent acting school gave her.

(First published in Firstpost)

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