Cast: Arbaaz Khan, Danish Husain, Ekta Kaul, Manav Vij, M. K. Raina, Rajat Kapoor, Satyadeep Mishra, Shashank Arora, Sumit Kaul, Sukhmani Sadana, Waluscha De Sousa, Zarina Wahab
Creator: Sudhir Mishra.
Director: Sudhir Mishra & Sachin Krishn.
Streaming On: Sony LIV India.
Runtime: 12 Episodes Around 40 Minutes Each.
Tanaav Review: What’s It About:
A special force of army officers sets out on a job to find a wanted terrorist under the leadership of Kabir (Manav Vij). It is the valley of Kashmir and the politics it holds at play. Will the terrorist be caught? That’s the only redemption we are served.
Tanaav Review: What Works:
Agree it or not, Sudhir Mishra in his career has kind of equipped many films to happen with his filmography. Be it Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Dharavi, Chameli, or more recently Serious Men, Hostages, and more, he made sure to create a troop and take the conversation of making substantial cinema ahead. Now he decides to adapt a cult foreign language show Fauda in the Indian subtext and chooses Kashmir for the same. Can it be a good idea?
Kashmir and its politics have been used to churn out story after story in the past many years. Many propaganda-driven, and some substantial, there is a lot of it in the market. While only Vishal Bharadwaj (Haider, Maqbool, & Omkara) seem to have cracked the code to show the best of it, others have only scratched the surface. Between this when Mishra decides to remake Fauda by setting it in Kashmir, he is already entering a very tricky zone.
The good part about the show is all on paper because the execution is as haphazard as it can be. But about that later. So back to what’s good. Fauda means ‘Chaos’, the chaos of the land the show was set in. Mishra takes an effort to talk about his land and so he names it Tanaav, meaning ‘Tension’. And he even has an honest approach to show the Tanaav in the land everybody calls heaven. His idea of capturing the state without adding much drama to the landscape, because there already is enough, is what one must appreciate. He doesn’t take refuge in the snow like zillion other films to create the visuals of Kashmir but walks through the lanes and alleys of the landscape.
On paper, he even gives credit to the army men who are spending their lives till the day they die and they know it can even be this very moment. A beautiful example is when an officer loses his girlfriend in a bomb blast and is slowly succumbing to the grief of her void. He struggles and suffers to make peace with the fact that she has died a brutal death. It is a reminder of what is being seen by the people involved in saving us.
Tanaav Review: Star Performance:
The casting in Tanaav is a massive misfire. While Manav Vij is a good choice in terms of his appearance in comparison to the only chiseled and handsome men with moustaches we are generally fed, he certainly fails to bring out the internal mess that his character is in. There is no visual catharsis of Kabir which is highly needed.
Only Shashank Arora is playing a different ball game altogether. The actor as the bad men’s confidant is so involved in the story that he believes in the part he is playing and it reflects in the way he plays him. Just wow! And credit where it’s due, Ekta Kaul compliments Arora with her subtle act but wish she had more to do in the course of the show.
Rest everyone just end up being one-tone characters with no life apart from this operation and no layers to think of where to go from here.
Tanaav Review: What Doesn’t Work:
As said, the aspirations of it all are limited to the paper and what translates on screen in a banal collection of plot points and twists we have already seen in numerous shows and movies. Add to it a reminder that this is also a remake of a very popular show. Take for instance, the aforementioned storyline of the officer who loses his girlfriend. He has a very vulnerable scene with Manav Vij who tries to pump him up by complimenting him, but in return, he does a silent gesture to confirm that his damage is irreversible. Such a hard-hitting scene but the blocking and its placement is so absurd that it doesn’t hit as hard.
Also, it is still unclear to me what Tanaav exactly wants to talk about. Because the visuals in the first 5 minutes are that of a woman shot in her guy while her toddler son sits besides her dead body. Cut to the sequence where there are no grey Indian men and only bad Kashmiris. Barring a few in the force, there is no wise native man on the street used as a concrete character for the most part of it. Are we saying all good people are dead? (Refer to the dead lady above) or are we drawing a dark straight line between black and white, ignoring the grey in people?
Everything has a firm side, so even the conflict looks like lenient. Plus the bad man, the big terrorist on run doesn’t get any layers other than growling at random intervals and ordering his men to kill people. It is all so one tone that no character ever crosses the line to create a sub-conflict which has the power to keep us more invested.
Tanaav Review: Last Words:
Tanaav could have been a great show if more time was invested in building a world rather than focusing on just stuffing it with characters. Potential to be good, but settles over the staple.
Yet to watch Netflix’ new show? Read our Mismatched Season 2 Review here.