Mumbai, 14 Jul 2022 22:36 IST
It is somewhat disappointing that filmmaker Sanjay Jadhav chose to not fully flesh out the themes and characters.
Marathi filmmaker Sanjay Jadhav's musical comedy Tamasha Live exposes the ludicrous nature of the mainstream Indian media and how shrill TV debates are nothing more than noise.
The film revolves around two journalists who resort to anything to keep their respective channels on top of the TRP charts. The ambitious Shefali (Sonalee Kulkarni) wants to become a star reporter like her idol Ashwin (Sachit Patil). The object of her admiration, however, is an egoistical and selfish opportunist, who is totally amoral. After being insulted by Ashwin, an infuriated Shefali decides to dethrone him and she gets her opportunity when the body of a struggling actress is found on the road.
Soon, a game of one-upmanship begins. From social media trolling and victim blaming to media trials of celebrities, the rivals' antics make a mockery of journalism and they exploit the death of the woman to garner more views.
There are so many directions Tamasha Live could have gone in that it’s somewhat disappointing that Jadhav chose to not fully flesh out the themes and characters.
The story doesn't focus on Shefali and Ashwin and their over-the-top behaviour. Instead, it mostly is a farce. This wouldn't have been a big issue had the writer and director put more effort into creating an engaging screenplay that not only gives us a clear picture of how journalists operate in India right now but also keeps us entertained. The team's sincerity is evident and I really wanted to root for the writer-director's attempt to create something unique but it just doesn't work because there is a difference between musical plays and musical movies.
The idea of using songs and music to take the story forward is not the issue, the problem lies with the implementation. For example, when Ashwin and Shefali engage in a war of words to prove each other wrong, suddenly they burst into a song, which works initially but after a point, loses its charm because it becomes repetitive. Through these numbers, the leads break the fourth wall and interact directly with the audience, giving us a clear idea about what they are thinking and how the story is progressing. There was no need to spoon-feed the audience this way.
Siddharth Jadhav and Hemangi Kavi are narrators who are there only to underline what's happening on screen. They state what unfolds in front of our eyes by sometimes highlighting the double standards of this media.
The briskly paced film could have easily accommodated interesting interactions between the two leads while still keeping the playful meta-narrative. But that doesn't happen.
Another thing that was somewhat a letdown for me is Jadhav's camerawork. The visual aesthetic of the film and the camera movement gives you the feeling of watching a play instead of a film. The direction and writing are equally to blame for this. The visual composition is flat and the scenes lack rhythm.
Overall, the lack of imagination in designing a unique and engaging musical drama ultimately leaves the viewer disappointed.
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