Thank God It Is Friday and this is a rather packed weekend in terms of the new releases, and we cannot be happier! First up, I finished watching the new Hindi film Tarla which is now streaming on Zee5. For those who do not know, Tarla Dalal was a legend in the culinary world, known to revolutionize vegetarian recipes through the simplest of techniques. On a side note, there was a joke amongst the boys on whether I was related to Tarla Dalal! The answer was an obvious ‘no’, but my memory of her was watching a cookery show with family on a popular channel. And I must admit that I was awed with the manner of her presentation, exuding of homely yet charming vibes and always flashing her warm and vivacious smile while cooking. So, when a biopic of Tarla Dalal was announced, I was quite game for it. Does the movie Tarla manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Tarla follows the story of Tarla Dalal, tracing her journey from humble beginnings of being an average joe in life to someone very special in the culinary space. The story here is heartwarming, painted with broader strokes yet warm and comforting, much like the food of Tarla Dalal. I honestly had a wide smile on my face while watching this beautiful film which was simple in many ways but exuding with a feel-good vibe. More importantly, it does give a licence to dream to so many woman, who are special in their own way by giving them wings of hope to fly! The screenplay standing at just over 2 hours does make for a breezy watch with subtler conflicts that really suit the narrative so well making for a wonderful watch.
The drama does open with the introduction of the protagonist who doesn’t quite have a purpose in life. Like is the case mostly everywhere, Tarla is married off at a young age while she still contemplates on what she wants to do in life that would be special and soul satisfying to her. Years pass until one day she finds her purpose. The drama is filled with multiple events with their foundation being simplistic. Yet, each of these events are laced with humour that will put a wide smile on your face. There is purpose to the screenplay that is in a way an ode to the women of the household who are at times confined to their spaces and haven’t explored their wings. And the writing here is all about empowering the idea of being special and working towards it!
The proceedings are light and frothy and absolutely delightful to watch. One of they key ingredients for this biopic was the depiction of food. And that was represented so well right throughout the film. The chain of events leading to the character of the husband turning from a non-vegetarian to a vegetarian was superbly penned and that little part of the film was essentially the soul of the film, and a turning point in the life of the protagonist. When problems are converted to opportunities, it does give even the simplest of people wings! Another big positive in the screenplay was the characterization of the two individuals namely Tarla and her husband. Particularly the latter who is shown to be so supportive, often taking a backseat while Tarla was gaining popularity.
The conflicts are simple and almost garnished throughout the narrative. The concepts of the fear of the unknown and the anxiety related to it, are nicely tapped into at various junctures of the drama. There are even conflicts related to the family adjusting to the ‘absence’ of the woman in their household(as well as the other way around given that Tarla is a mother and a wife too, from her perspective) which was decently well tapped into. I did like that none of the conflicts did overpower the narrative and changed the tonality of the drama which was always meant to be frothy and light, just like the food of Tarla Dalal. But if I had to point out one small issue then the drama was a little too.simple and painted with a broader stroke. I can attribute that to the limitation of the medium of films especially when it comes to biopics. Having said that, the final act is warm and comforting thus summing up a well written screenplay that has several heartfelt moments throughout its runtime.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are simplistic and I quite enjoyed the interactions between characters. The music is pleasant and goes well with the breezy nature of the drama. The BGM works really well by enhancing many scenes at various junctures. The cinematography captures some mouth-watering shots of food that shall make you salivate. The editing is pretty smooth for most parts. The make-up and costume design is on point as well as the art design that captures a simple middle class household wonderfully well. Director Piyush Gupta does a fabulous job in keeping things light and frothy while capturing the essence of the drama really well. I was engaged right throughout the film and the director deserves accolades for the same.
The performances are excellent here by the entire cast. Veerah Naair as Renuka and Raghav Binani as Rajat have their moments to shine. Sharib Hashmi as Nalin is such an endearing character and he does such a brilliant job here. He is gentle and well restrained while constantly being supportive and it was yet another towering performance by Sharib who is taking rapid strides now! Huma Qureshi as Tarla is sincere and captures the soul of her character brilliantly. She is excellent in playful scenes while showcasing her vulnerability and insecurity in a few scenes wonderfully well. Both Huma and Sharib share crackling chemistry with each other and make for excellent performances overall.
Tarla is a delicious biopic on a culinary legend backed by outstanding performances that makes for a wonderful watch. Available on Zee5.