Tara Vs Bilal
Onto the final release of the weekend and I finished the new Hindi film Tara Vs Bilal which is now streaming on Netflix. The film had a theatrical release just after Diwali but it wasn’t promoted and its release was also extremely limited. It was as if the makers had to go to the theatrical route as opposed to the direct OTT one. This may well be a picture of times to come wherein the OTT platforms would encourage the filmmakers to go the theatrical route before premiering the film on the OTT space to cut down the publicity and marketing costs. For smaller films to thrive, this may not be the best option and surely a different working model is required at the moment. But I still did find the need to give a voice to this film(provided it was good) especially because Tara Vs Bilal did boast of a talented pair of Sonia Rathee and Harshvardhan Rane. So then is Tara Vs Bilal worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Tara Vs Bilal follows the story of a girl and a boy who enter a fake marriage with one another until cupid strikes! The story is simple yet in times where there is a dearth of Rom-Coms doing the rounds, this film comes as a breath of fresh air. It seems that we have forgotten the art of making love stories especially in Hindi films and so in a genre that is slowing subsiding, films like these do keep the flag flying. The screenplay standing at just above 2 hours, is taut and makes for a pleasant viewing experience.
The drama opens with the introduction of the two protagonists which are diabolically opposite one another. Tara is caught in a mess in a land foreign to her where even the basic needs of survival are put to test. Bilal, on the other hand, is brash and carefree, often speaking his mind out even in front of his mother and her friends, much to their dismay! So the characterization is really strong between the two protagonists that instantly does make for an interesting viewing. A subplot involving an LGBTQ relationship is also handled with sensitivity to a point that it felt normal and organic.
The urgency begins to kick in after the introduction of the conflict that promises to be a fun watch. The drama is engrossing although predictable from the word go. In other words, there are no surprises in store for you but it definitely makes for a pleasant viewing. The aspect that the drama gets spot on is the emotional quotient of the drama. There are many scenes that will feel like a long embrace and will leave you with a tingling fuzzy feeling. A little dig into the character of Bilal reveals a secret which he has been holding onto within himself on the back of a carefree superior. And in a beautiful turn of events, he is consoled by Tara who just seems to understand his mindset. There are moments like these that formulate this heartwarming love story with streaks of humour.
A slight downer for me was the cliched third act that did seem to creep in a few tried and tested clichés of the genre. The writing does get slightly more generic and convenient although the drama is watchable for sure. A slight diversion of the character of Bilal eventually coming to terms with his inner demons did add an interesting later to it but it did end on a slightly simpler note than I would have preferred. Also, a concluding scene was missing of the couple reuniting with the family. It was this final act that stopped the film from being great. But taking nothing away from the screenplay which is warm, fuzzy and a breath of fresh air although pretty straight forward and predictable.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are cute and simple and its beauty lies in its simplicity. The proceedings did feel organic because the conversations weren’t over the top or backed by stereotypes. The music is excellent and probably a soundtrack which I will revisit soon enough. The BGM is alright, perhaps an underlying theme music would have worked wonders here. The cinematography is decent, so is the editing. Director Samar Iqbal does a pretty good job here in adding the right amount of emotions to the drama. This was quite honestly the USP of the film and it did have its heart in the right place.
The performances by the ensemble cast is excellent. Niki Walia as Daisy is such a warm character and she does a terrific job here. Deepika Amin and Mona Ambegaonkar are brilliant and both have their moments to shine. Pranay Manchanda as Jiggy and Raheem Mir as Ritz are first rate and account for some incredibly organic moments in the screenplay. But the show does belong to the pair of Harshvardhan Rane and Sonia Rathee, both of whom share crackling chemistry with one another. Sonia as Tara looks so pretty and is such a natural onscreen. She aces the emotional moments with ease too. And Harsh as Bilal is an incredibly good actor who has a towering persona onscreen in a performance which is another timely reminder of the phenomenal talent which he does possess! He is brilliant and I really wish to watch more of him going forward.
Tara Vs Bilal is a breezy and sweet Rom-Com with outstanding performances. In times of thrillers, this film does come as a breath of fresh air! Available on Netflix.