At the risk of being labelled a social pariah, I have to say I finally watched Tashan after five years and I kind of liked it. I did not find it as bad as I heard it to be. Rather, I found it entertaining in some ways. Tashan is primarily the story of four characters - Jimmy (Saif), Pooja (Kareena), Bachchan Pandey (Akshay Kumar) and Bhaiyyaji (Anil Kapoor). Jimmy is the urbane, suave, speaking-English-with-an-accent and working in a call center guy while Bachchan Pandey is a ganga kinare rustic, small-time Kanpuriya goon who wishes to become like his idol, the gangster Bhaiyyaji. Pooja is on her own mission of revenge and has some links to these three guys. Tashan as the name suggests means style and Vijay Krishna Acharya, who also wrote the script for Dhoom series, has directed this film. I felt the film had enough style and much better than the Dabangg, Singham, Himmatwala crap that goes onto make 100 crores at the box office these days. There are some sequences which I found really cool, like Bachchan's Rajnikanth-type fights during the shooting scene in Rajasthan. There is also a very unique shaolin fighters sequence on an electricity pole. What did not work was probably the execution.
I was confused as to what exactly the purpose of the film is. So, Bhaiyyaji speaks in pathetic English-cum-Hindi pidgin that is supposed to be funny. At the same time, he is such a violent man that he kills his victims using a cricket bat. He doesn't flinch for a second before shooting someone. Are we supposed to laugh at him or cringe at his violent streak? The makers somehow got too engrossed in making it a stylish film in what could have been an excellent crime thriller. Like the sequence where Pooja hides the cash she stole from Bhaiyyaji in seven different places all over India. How did she do that? And when she is asked to give back the money to Bhaiyyaji, they simply go to each of the seven places and collect the cash - all done during one song Falak Tak. It could have been an intriguing heist sequence. Why not explore it further? I am prepared to accept any amount of WTFness that you are showing like the one where Jimmy comes in a sea-doo during the climax from a stream of a tiny river and overturns it at a very crucial moment. But it could have been executed so much better. The climax was particularly disappointing. The place was a dirt ridden compound of Bhaiyyaji - why not make the place sleek like a cool villain's? At least save the flying dirt! If you want to give us masala, then give it to us properly. And again, I was confused as to what I will call this film - a revenge saga, a love story, a road trip, an gangster movie? There were so many things happening that it all seemed too messy.
But there are some things I did like. Some of the plot sequences caught me unawares. Pooja's re-entry and a Don-moment slips in when you least think of it. And I thought I am never going to say it in my life but I loved Akshay in the film. He was terrific as Bachchan. Saif had a really short role in the film and Akshay stole the show from everyone. The way he adjusts his crotch to the way he narrates his story of Gudiya to the way he proposes Pooja calling himself a dick - he brought a charming vulnerability to Bachchan .
Akshay was very good..
Tashan also in its own ways refers to the movies of the '70s and the '80s. So there is a hilarious sequence of Deewar by Bhaiyyaji.
Deewar in the background
There is a Don-moment where only the police inspector knows about his mole.
Some secret planning..
There is an Anil Kapoor Lakhan moment.
An outrageous Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro type spoof on Ramayana.
Tulsidas ne likha hai original..humne to sirf screenplay likha hai hai..
The songs sung by Udit Narayan and Sukhwinder give a very '90s feel. The somewhat racist Dil Dance Maare is the best song in the film..best in terms of placement (white white face?!?!). It is the only song that fits the situation. I was laughing in splits when the Hollywood director thinks Bachchan is Amitabh Bachchan. And the song is outrageous. You just can't stop humming it. I feel ashamed to admit that.
I also like Falak Tak a lot.
Alankar theater is also playing this movie - Falak Tak - meta movie..
What was jarring was the choreography of the songs. I know Vaibhavi Merchant is a fabulous choreographer but somehow the songs have been shot either in Ladakh or in Greece, and they do not match with the surroundings. In a place like Ladakh where the scenery is so majestic, it is hard to concentrate on the song especially when the actors do not blend with it. Film songs have always been shot at exotic locales but the song and the location should match the mood. How brilliantly Karan Johar films his songs - Kal Ho Na Ho at the bridge in New York or Suraj Hua Madham in Egypt. The place just doesn't suit in Tashan. I do not know whether it was the funny costumes that was the reason. Also, the surface where they shot the songs is very uneven limiting the choreography.
Beautiful place but very uneven limiting choreography..
Kareena, as always, looks beautiful in the film. And I maybe wrong but the song Chaliya is one of the very few songs in Hindi cinema that I guess has black women as support dancers in the background. Typically, it is always the white women. Chaliya is nicely done.
Black Women - A first for Hindi Cinema?
There are some really funny sequences like the one where the Bhaiyyaji's henchmen playing hopscotch using a revolver.
Or when when Bhaiyaji calls Jimmy as Prince Charlie as in Prince Charles. I also really enjoyed the noir elements and Pooja's Kill Bill desire for vengeance.
There was a very nice point by one of the reviewers. Given that Aditya Chopra always does research for his films, Tashan was in some ways an extension of Bunty Aur Babli. The contrast between two Indias - the call center English speaking and the inspirational rural hinterland. The divide is actually shown in the first scene of the film: a car accident due to fight between the two riders - one wants to listen to an AC/DC song and the other to a Kabhi Kabhi song.
There is also a silly goof up. So when Pooja calls Jimmy asking for details for a number he tells her one that only has nine digits.
Seriously? This is the most basic thing to correct..Nine digits?
Tashan is not perfect at all. But still I laughed at many places. It could have been better but nevertheless, there is always a next time. Once you go with zilch expectations, some fun can always be had. And of the hilarious scenes I found was during the climax, on the wall there is written Anil Atom Bomb.
Anil Atom Bomb :D
Dialogue of the Day:
Kabhi kabhi jo sahi lagta hai, vo dusro ke liye galat hota hai.
- Pooja, Tashan