MISS TANAKPUR HAAZIR HO is a social satire based on a real life story. First time director Vinod Kapri was intrigued by a news story in Rajasthan wherein a boy was sentenced to five years imprisonment for raping a buffalo.
He visited the village, met the boy and his family, accusers, doctors, lawyers and even the veterinary to understand how this could be! What stumbled out was a fascinating fact which he has tried to portray on screen with an ensemble cast that does justice to his plot.
However, having said that, one must admit that Kapri, after laboring through the first half, to bring the film to a point of suspense, goes overboard in histrionics, thus diluting the major impact he was able to build up.
The end is disappointing. In fact, mid-way through the second half, Kapri allows the film to slip away from his grip. He could have surely thought of a fascinating end, keeping up the intensity of the turmoil that the boy's family has to go through, rather than making a joke out of it.
Moreover, the Khap Panchayat, the power of which is wielded by the village Pradhan Sualal Gandas (Annu Kapoor) lessens its intensity rather than going in for the kill. Here is where the fault of the execution of MISS TANAKPUR lies. And after a gruesome scene where Arjun (Rahul Bagga) is dragged, beaten and tortured, he appears as fresh as ever.
Hrishitaa Bhatt as Maya, Gandas' young wife is mesmerizing. She plays the frustrated wife who is unable to get the 'desired satisfaction' from her 'can't perform' husband brilliantly. Falling for a village boy her age, Arjun, Maya finds little pleasures in her dreary life until Gandas walks in on them. He knew there was something brewing but fails to understand until he enlists the help of a local tantric played by Sanjay Mishra and his dumb henchman Ravi Kishan.
Sanjay Mishra and Om Puri are getting adept at playing themselves in every film. There is no improvisation and that is a sad situation considering both are intense actors. The creativity lies when every act becomes different from the previous one and viewers are not able to link one act with the other.
Here is where Ravi Kishan and Annu Kapoor both break free from their mold to give an improved performance. There are flashes of brilliance in Kissen's 'dumb act' while Kapoor too shines.
MTHO is a brave attempt to bring to light the powers of the Khap Panchayat. Instead of making light of the situation at the end, Kapri needed to turn the tables on the panchayat!
That is what I was looking for and that is what left me disappointed.
If you are looking for something diverse from Bollywood and are willing to brave the flaws, then this certainly is for you.