Cast: Bhuvan Bam, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Shilpa Shukla, Prathamesh Parab, J. D. Chakravarthi, Deven Bhojani, and ensemble.
Creator: Bhuvan Bam & Rohit Raj.
Director: Himank Gaur.
Streaming On: Disney+ Hotstar.
Language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Runtime: 6 Episodes Around 40 Minutes Each.
Taaza Khabar Review: What’s It About:
A good-for-nothing boy from the lower middle-class strata of Mumbai gets a boon just around his 25th birthday. He can see the future and he decides to use it to earn big. But with time the power turns into a curse as it starts playing with his head and turns him into a demon he always feared.
Taaza Khabar Review: What Works:
More than the merits and drawbacks of the first show of 2023, Taaza Khabar is a celebration of a man with the gest to win what he aspires to. Bhuvan Bam aka BB Ki Vines has carved a niche and paved his way to the position where he now produces what he believes in and even if that means making his own space by dragging his chair and demanding the respect he deserves. Full marks for the dedication, as the YouTube sensation now strives hard to be perceived as an actor and show that there is more to him that the multiple alter egos he plays in the skits.
Coming to Taaza Khabar, is a story shaped to celebrate its leading man. Rags to riches but with a whole lot of gloss and the swag that makes slow-motion shots of cigarette and bare-bodied men with power quintessential. But what makes this one different is the fact that all of this is centered around a man who looks like us. Has no abs or concrete muscles, is un-groomed, and has no resemblance to any Rocky Bhais of the world. Written by Hussain Dalal and Abbas Dalal, it is here where the Himank Gaur-directed show finds its strength. The character building is surprisingly very peppy yet rooted to the milieu the characters come from.
The first episode introduces us to the helplessness of everyone on the main team. There is an ambition to rise above but no means. The world looks at all of them as third-class citizens and of no good. One works at a public toilet (Vasant, Bhuvan), one is an s*x worker with dreams of becoming a designer (Madhu, Shriya), and there’s also a man so righteous that he won’t do wrong even if it costs his life (Mehboob, Deven). With them is a boy from the local Chinese restaurant who just wants to exist and have fun (Peter, Prathamesh). They are explored well enough for us to root for them in a limited time and that is a commendable job.
The way the show structures fantasy in a story deeply rooted in realism is merit on its own. A man who hides even a thousand bucks beneath three layers of locks becomes rich overnight. So this either has to be a crime or magic and the latter is given a literal plot in the story. Together it’s a community rising and the makers are dedicated to telling you that. There is too much style in the second half but that is only to make you realise the lack of it in the first half and how the conditions change once a man gets the power. Bhuvan is known for showing the absurdity of a man trying to take a bite way bigger than his mouth. He does that here too. HE manages to go ‘Aukaat ke bahar’ but also has a purpose for it.
One has to appreciate the eye for detail this team has. Everyone together since Dhindora, a more experimental show, here they realise that things are indeed staple but they make sure the set up never bores the audience. Even the lack of a strong buildup in the second half and a cliffhanger with no anticipation doesn’t bother because they invest more in the casting and that works in their favour.
Another thing that is immaculate about Taaza Khabar is its music. Bhuvan himself being a musician too realises the power and importance of it. He brings together some of the most underrated troops with even the amazing Parikrama having a song with Mohan Kanan, Divya Kumar, Dev Negi, and others on the team. So much brilliance and a great impact.
Taaza Khabar Review: Star Performance:
Bhuvan Bam should be appreciated for his dedication to excel with each project. Unlike Dhindora where it was his playground widened, Taaza Khabar is entirely an alien landscape here. With no refuge behind his decade-long alter egos, where he is expected to play an entirely different character. With a whole lot of scope to evolve, he does manage to being out the emotions of Vasant pretty well. While the arrogance does look inorganic, but it doesn’t go entirely bad ever.
Shriya Pilgaonkar is perfect. The actor plays an s*x worker with an aspiration to own a boutique with her designed dresses. With no authority over herself, she decides to name her boutique Madhu Creations. The power also lies in how much empathetic the writing is towards her character and how the gaze is not always of pitty. Pilgaonkar does an amazing job at playing her. Bhuvan and Shriya a their characters elope one day and go on a date, a very adorable sequence.
JD Chakravarthi plays Satya, a local politician. If naming him that was a homage to his cult hit film, I am so enjoying that. Taking a 180-degree turn he plays the baddie and does it pretty well.
Rest everyone enjoys the spotlight and make sure they don’t waste the opportunity at any cost.
Taaza Khabar Review: What Doesn’t Work:
While Taaza Khabar does make absurdity its strength it somewhere feels away from what it wants to achieve. We cannot decide if this is a story with a moral or just entertainment. Because the characters are build with so much intricacies involved, but the point where their lives intervene and are supposed to progress the show begins racing with time.
For a long format show that has all the time in building a slow burning tale of a man rising from rags to riches, the team takes a feature film approach where every five minutes Vasant climbs peak after with no time for the viewer to digest his success so one can root for it. The change in his attitude doesn’t grow step by step but just blasts which makes it all look half-baked. Also, why not explore that part where the scope of a lucrative narrative is the highest. The recently release Faadu does that pretty well, incase you are looking for an example.
All of this also affects the climax and the cliffhanger because the grip goes loose never to be tightened again. The show can be literally divided into a first half and second half because the first is a slow burning world building, compared to a rushed storytelling that is not bothered of the details that the first was relying so much on.
Taaza Khabar Review: Last Words:
It might look stale and cliched to many, but Taaza Khabar is more about adding freshness to the staple and watching Bhuvan Bam evolve in it. Binge-watch it because it’s that breezy.
For more, read our Physics Wallah Review here.
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