Review Marathi

Teen Payacha Ghoda review: An uneven experimental coming-of-age drama

Release Date: 27 Feb 2022

Cinestaan Rating

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  • Direction:
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Suyog Zore

The film has a few things going for it but lacks the kind of unfaltering energy and flair that are required to retain an audience’s attention.

Teen Payacha Ghoda (Three Legged Horse) is an indie coming-of-age drama film co-written and directed by Noopur Bora.

Starring Ria Nalavade, Kunal Shukla and Avinash Londhe, the film revolves around three teenagers on the cusp of adulthood and how they slowly come to terms with the reality of being an adult. Teen Payacha Ghoda also examines how friendships are forged under unlikely circumstances,

Adnan (Shukla) has failed the Higher Secondary School Certificate exam five times in a row. His alcoholic father (Sandesh Kulkarni) has been admitted to a rehabilitation centre. Chandrika (Nalavade), who works at a call centre, is deeply in love with Adnan and comes up with a unique plan to ensure he finally succeeds academically. This entails hiring Rathore (Londhe). Chandrika, who harbours dreams of becoming an actress,  slowly comes to terms with reality after realizing that she probably doesn't have the talent and patience required to break through as a star. 

The film, which has been written by Bora and Yogesh Vinayak Joshi, is divided into three chapters, each of which focuses on a particular important incident. The screenplay underlines the emotional conflict of the trio with subtle commentary on the changing times. But on some occasions, it feels too on-the-nose while on others, it's too subdued to even notice. The screenplay takes its time to build up the main plot and therein lies its biggest flaw. 

Each character is poles apart from the other and this works in favour of the film. Teen Payacha Ghoda's aesthetic and artistic transitions, as well as cinematography, are admirable with a variety of diverse shots establishing the setting well and maintaining a sense of engagement. The effective use of light and darkness also complements this. Another thing that stands out is the director's unique approach to telling the story.

This is Bora's first feature film but he has worked as assistant director on Marathi films like Chintoo 2 (2014), Gacchi (2018). In his first film, Bora chooses not to follow a recognisable structure of coming of age drama and offer something refreshing and inventive. 

But the intentionally abstract editing sometimes doesn't let you get emotionally invested in the protagonists' misery. For example, more than three or four times, a completely unrelated shot is jammed in between an emotional scene for a few seconds, which breaks the flow. The plight of some of the supporting characters also doesn't hit as hard as the film wants, especially Adnan's father and Rathore's deaf-and-mute mother. 

Also, at 125 minutes, the film is too long. If they had somehow managed to reduce the length by 15 minutes, it would have been far more impactful.

The performances are all good. Nalavade has a decent job as a young woman who is madly in love with her boyfriend. She is the most outspoken of the three. She also does a fine job during some of the film's tender moments. Her presence is contrasted by Shuka's subdued, controlled performance. The actor plays a young man trapped in an inescapable situation and he does an excellent job. Londhe also does a fine job as a reluctant socially awkward guy.

The film, overall, has a few things going for it but lacks the kind of unfaltering energy and flair that are required to retain an audience’s attention.

Teen Payacha Ghoda was screened virtually from 26 to 28 February at the 22nd MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.


Related topics

Movie Review MAMI Mumbai Film Festival

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