Thank God It Is Friday but more importantly it is MAMI day! Yes, the Mumbai Film Festival kicks off from today, and for the next 10 days, Yours Truly will be watching and reviewing different content from around the globe. But just a word of caution to my viewers, the regular weekend releases may get slightly delayed because of that. So with a whole new challenge in front of me, I shall be working overtime to cover as much content as possible. But before that, I decided to slip in a review of the regular weekend release. With that, I finished watching the new Hindi film Tejas which is now available in a theatre near me.
One reason why I was looking forward to watch Tejas was Kangana Ranaut. And one reason why I was skeptical to watch Tejas was Kangana Ranaut. I regard Kangana as an incredibly gifted actor who has the potential to turn even the most banal scenes into something interesting. But she hasn’t tasted Box Office success in a very long time! The last Kangana Ranaut film that had worked big time at the Indian Box Office was Tanu Weds Manu Returns almost 8 years ago in 2015. And that is a huge gap in success for an actor like Kangana who hasn’t picked the right kind of subjects for my liking. Yes, her characters are powerful but a part of me says that she chooses her characters rather than the script as a whole. With Tejas, I had the same fear on what if the story is just a regular story Airforce story which was already covered in Top Gun. And with Top Gun Maverick setting the bar that high, would Tejas be anywhere near it(ofcourse not)? The Hindi Film Industry has always known to skew a film starring a female protagonist and Tejas presented one opportunity to change things. So then does Tejas manage to impress, let’s find out.
Story & Screenplay
Tejas follows the story of a protagonist who is sent on a deadly rescue mission wherein a bigger conspiracy is brewing elsewhere. The story is just so cliched and so bad that I wonder, how a prestigious production house like RSVP managed to green light this piece of writing. Compared to this, Uri was a far more technically brilliant film that deservedly worked at the Indian Box Office. But Tejas would probably give Ganapath a run for its money for the worst movie of the year. The screenplay standing at about a 110 odd minutes is a complete disaster that is filled with cliched and chest thumping jingoism that felt tonally off from the word go. In fact, I was literally angry with the proceedings especially because this could well have been a thrilling ride despite all the clichés thrown in.
The drama opens on a slippery note with a rescue operation underway on a restricted island featuring the protagonist who defies all orders of her seniors. That entire sequence was so choppy with laughable VFX that it created zero impact and it just set a precedence for the ridiculous set of events to follow. The drama even lacks coherence, often jumping timelines randomly. What should have included a heartfelt set of events as a part of the world building, is simply checked off in just a couple of scenes. Even the character trait of the protagonist is half-baked and as a result, the viewers do not form any sort of an emotional bond with her. Soon the timelines change and you are yet again transported to the present featuring a potential inquiry underway while the writers introduce a conflict of a rescue op! How random does that sound?
The proceedings are not bad, they are very bad, suddenly focusing on the love angle of the protagonist that eventually becomes her motivation for her new mission. And I was shocked at how bad the entire planning was, so far-fetched with zero technicalities that had me face-palming so many times that my face hurt after the film. I have massive respect for my armed forces and for them to be presented in such tepid fashion really angered me to no extent. There were several leaps of faith and creative liberties that had me wondering on what exactly was the writer thinking. Ridiculous on how anything and everything is served in the name of entertainment with absolutely no care in the world for the intellect of the audience. Even the supposed emotional moments are so weak that you don’t feel a thing.
The rescue-op had to be one of the many ridiculous sequences of the film. Not only were a few set of people shown to be dim-witted, but certain sequences were laughable. Picture this – a dog meandering on a runway, only to attract the attention of a personnel who discovers planes on a runway behind a screen placed featuring a runway. This is straight out of the Roadrunner Show and I did have a hearty laugh there. But the plot point of the final act had absolutely no business to be there in a film like this. Not only was it way too off tonally, it smelt like another little wave to rile up the sentiments of the people, very sneakily. I won’t be discussing it further to avoid spoilers but it was outrageous especially because the subject matter was something totally different. The cliched ending just came at the right time before I was about to snooze. Overall, the screenplay is another contender for the worst written material of the year.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are filled with lines featuring chest thumping jingoism where the writers do not take the route of taming it in any manner. The music of the film is underrated and atleast some songs were good to listen to, despite stalling the flow of the proceedings(thankfully). The BGM also tries hard to work but usually the background score can only do so much especially when the writing is bad. The cinematography is pretty bad with not one shot that would fill you with pride. The VFX is exceptionally bad wherein the makers of Adipurush would slightly be disappointed given that the ‘horrible’ VFX of Tejas was achieved at a much lesser budget than their product. The editing is choppy and all over the place! Director Sarwesh Mewara just misses the mark and how! His execution can best be described as poor wherein even the moments which had to potentially give you thrills, left me yawning all the way.
The performances are a mixed bad. Some members of the ‘G**i’ media play themselves and you instantly know where the film is headed. Ashish Vidyarthi and Varun Mitra shine in their respective roles. Anshul Chauhan hams her way through the role and more than her performance, I wished to know the intention of the writers for introducing comic traces to her character. Kangana Ranaut as Tejas definitely does impress but it again boiled down to a good performance in a bad film. This wasn’t her best performance but she atleast tried to make the proceedings work, but in vain due to the weak writing and poor execution.
Tejas(the film) is a cliched, dim-witted and chest thumping jingoistic snoozefest that is another contender for the worst film of the year. Available in a theatre near you.
Disclaimer : We respect our armed forces a lot but the review is strictly restricted to the film and doesn’t reflect our thoughts on the armed forces, any religion or our beloved country in any capacity!