'Taana' review: Handcuffed in boredom

Unfortunately, Taana is neither sensitive nor funny enough to sail purely on the zany vibe.

Published: 25th January 2020 10:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th January 2020 10:54 AM   |  A+A-

Taana

Taana

Express News Service

What happens when a man with a voice disorder (he shifts to a falsetto, that resembles a female voice, under extreme duress or joy) aspires to become a police officer? No, I am not talking about the latest Ayushmann Khurrana film. It could have been one though, for the promise Taana’s premise holds. A protagonist with an unconventional problem that is usually mocked, who discovers himself during his journey of self-love… it falls right under the Ayushmann’s brand of feel-good cinema. Unfortunately, Taana is neither sensitive nor funny enough to sail purely on the zany vibe.

For starters, the voice disorder feels like an afterthought. A quick look at Wikipedia can tell you what Puberphonia is, and the film doesn’t impart any more knowledge than two minutes on that site will. I wonder if that’s basically what the director did before he made Taana. After an incident with the ‘supernatural’, Shakti (Vaibhav) begins to face issues with his voice. But the film spends less than half-hour exploring his trials and tribulations. Most of this time is spent in showing Shakthi sweating (which seems to be an amazing cue for his condition) and being queasy. We never see the ‘pain’ that Shakti mentions, let alone feel it. To top it all, a disinterested Vaibhav doesn’t really add much to a character who already feels hollow.

The degree of convenience in this script is criminal. It is an indication of the lack of effort to structure a decent screenplay. New information, crucial stuff, is just conveniently introduced as and when required and with such offhandedness, it angers me to even recall it. Remember the disorder that Shakthi is ‘battling’ with? It gets magically cured with some ‘divine intervention’. How do we know this? Pandiarajan screams out to Shakti, “Unaku seri aiduchu da.” That’s it. Shakti deduces that someone is murdered by seeing a drop of blood on a Barbie doll. But how does he discover this?

“Barbie doll ku pottu irukaathe.” No shit, Sherlock! The way all this information is presented is laughable. What else can you do when a character played by Hareesh Peradi says, “En arms a paru, complete sportsman da naa. You think you can outshine me with your flabby physique?” Shakti finds that the names of cyclones are an important clue to his investigation. How? By hearing children read about them in textbooks. It doesn’t matter that you’ve never seen them so far and never see them after as well. How does he find that there are a series of murders? Through a news report he accidentally watches on TV at the same time. And of course, the victims of this are chosen from data provided by just one source, another character who just flits in and out because the director wants him to.

The film tries too hard to stay ‘relevant’ with constant references to pop culture. The omnipresent Yogi Babu is introduced here as the Tamil Nadu Teddy bear and of course, they have to follow it up with a Blue Satta dig. There’s a Kanchana 4 thrown in (why not, this film has ‘ghosts’ as well) and somewhere Yogi Babu tries to pull off a Priya Prakash Varrier, mimicking her viral handgun gesture. Sigh, I am not sure how long this will continue to pass as ‘humour’.It is quite hard to determine what Taana aspires to do. The film could have been a zany comedy that took a sensitive dig at what ‘masculinity’ means in today’s world. Or, it could have been a mere investigative thriller that follows the journey of a cop. Taana half-heartedly tries to do both and ends up being neither.


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