'Tadap' review: When you know there's going to be a meme about this

#Ahan Shetty, Bollywood, #Business of Bollywood, #Film review, #Tadap review, Suniel Shetty, Shahid Kapoor

Actor Ahan Shetty in ‘Tadap’. (Image: screen grab)

‘If I could go back in time, I would ask my parents if they had a love marriage or an arranged marriage.’ This is the dialogue that prompts the girl to kiss the guy. And you’re sitting in the audience wondering if she kissed him to make him stop saying such ridiculous things. You know there’s going to be a meme out there somewhere with this, and you go ‘LOL’ in your head. But wait, ‘Lol’ is the name of the sidekick in the film: hero ka best friend (the only friend, really).

Rich girl falling in love with poor boy from the hills and father playing villain is a story as old as Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965). We’ve also seen Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s character in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam chase after her first love all over Europe. We’ve also seen Suniel Shetty do the ‘so mad in love, I will destroy my true love’s husband’s life’ wallah role in Dhadkan. So that’s not new either. Of course the story of Devdas dying for Paro has been made and remade until you want to leave the theatre and take comfort in Money Heist Season 21 or something. But Bollywood believes in making extreme stalker movies which makes you wonder if they’re writing tales for incels.

So Ahan Shetty wants to be a romantic star. But also an action star. Nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is how Bollywood insists on passing off the toxic mix of the two by saying that the film is based on real-life events. If you want young folks to be inspired by love, then dying at the feet of a girl who is marrying someone else, beating up people because you want to make her your own and nothing can stop you is a stupid thing to do. Even Shahid Kapoor in Jab We Met knew when to let her go. Whatever happened to young people chanting ‘Agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho toh poori kainaat usey tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai.’ 

It’s like a 130-minute tantrum with blows raining on every one of his 206 bones, and he still wants his ‘Ramisa!’ because they’ve gone all the way and she’s his… You’re sitting in the audience thinking,’Itni shiddat se agar job dhoondte…’ The guy is nothing but a goon for a politician. Kumud Mishra as politician Nautiyal looks rather uncomfortable spouting dialogues like, ‘Main beti ka baap hoon’ and ‘Mare huye ko kya maarna’.

Saurabh Shukla plays Daddy, the adopted father of Ishana (Ahan Shetty). Daddy shows up to rescue Ishana after every fight he gets into with Nautiyal’s men, after Ishana destroys all kinds of property Nautiyal owns. Ishana is mostly drunk and drives a bike now and drinks some more and smokes and does the tree pose balancing on his bike. Between destruction of property and people, Daddy forgives him, saying he wants his old Ishana back.

Wouldn’t Ishana be better off in an alcohol rehab? Or a couple of nights in the slammer? The problem is with Daddy and his love. The trouble is no one is writing characters like Alok Nath from Maine Pyar Kiya who will tell a rich boy to earn enough to afford getting married to the girl he claims to love: Kitna kamata hai tu? Teri kamai kitni hai? Yahi poochha tha mujhe tumhare baap ne… Bata, (ab tu bata,) teri haisiyat kya hai?

Even Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya did a better job at showing love that crosses ‘haisiyat’. We laugh at Alok Nath’s dialogue now, because no one is asking these basic questions of these young men and women who claim that they will live on fresh air and love. And you will miss that in the movie. The days of building a house and singing a song were all right in the days of Betaab. Today, survival is a lot more like Sairat, especially if neither of them is qualified to make a living. The story should make you want to root for the two lovers, not leave the seat and get yourself an overpriced coffee. I understand that young girls will gush over a shirtless gym body that can balance on the bike, but at no point do you want to support a guy whose primary job seems to be beating people up.

Adding a Goa-like tent and DJ with hippies smoking up and dancing makes you fall in love with the two who pose for the audience. Or will you fall for, ‘I saw how they kiss in the movies, you kiss this part (of the lip) and I will kiss that part (of the lip). I realised that the filmmakers are desperate to prove that they’re ‘innocent’.

He pines and gets drunk and beaten up for three years. Then she shows up again and the dad has to play villain – again. And he wants her back no matter what her marital status. But it’s so bad, you’re missing the scene about the ‘mangalsutra’ Aishwarya Rai’s Nandini is unable to remove when she’s about to see the supposed love of her life in concert (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam).

Ahan Shetty has very nice, white teeth. His acting chops are hidden by the beard that covers his face. And he possesses a magic watch that seems indestructible even after getting into as many fights as he does. You emerge from the theatre bloodied from the mess that the story turns out to be, and horrified at the ‘bad girls smoke cigarettes’ trope. Imagine how terrible the story is that you end up with a Tadap for ‘Ishq wala love’. And you pray hard that the universe sends whosoever thought it was a good idea to burn a bike made from INS Vikrant straight to hell.

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