The movie is confused between being a thriller, a comedy, a supernatural thriller and therein lies its biggest problem.

Taxiwaala review Good premise undone by confused executionYouTube screengrab
Flix Tollywood Saturday, November 17, 2018 - 14:58

At the outset, let's establish the context: Taxiwaala has been touted as a supernatural comedy thriller. Arguing against the logic of the movie would be like arguing against the veracity of supernatural elements and a film shouldn't really pay for someone's lack of belief in supernatural occurrences. So, let's assume the movie makes a massive assumption that it is possible to separate the soul from the body.

Did it stay consistent, at least to that premise? Simple answer: No.

Taxiwaala is Rahul Sankrityan's second movie, a fact that should exonerate him to a certain extent. Bankrolled by UV Creations and Geetha Arts, the movie starts out with the usual Vijay Deverakonda styling, which is imposed on us movie after move – so confusing off-late, considering the amount of PR Vijay has going for himself, even if it comes at the expense of character establishment.

Sample this – his character, Shiva, keeps donning a pretty posh leather jacket right through the movie (including in the climax scene) and it was apparently bought by him for a thousand bucks (like really?)

But the same person, when he needs 2 lakhs, goes to his brother and sister-in-law and she has to sell her last piece of jewellery to give him that kind of a sum. Doesn't fit right, does it? But, we will learn to ignore such things because the movie does have an interesting premise and we wait for the 'actual story' to start.

However, we then have another pit-stop – the heroine’s entry – a doctor who falls in love with him, an OLA cab driver, because he drops her safely at a police station when she was fully inebriated and had passed out in his taxi. Good character, and all!

Finally, the story arrives and the car develops a character of its own and even commits a murder. Astral projection, we are told – enter parascience professor played by Ravi Varma. Feels exciting, only for the story to return to the same old bad-guys-with-a-bad-plan-gone-wrong trope. We spend more than half an hour trying to figure out the connection between 'the spirit in the car' and a flashback involving Malvika Nair, who plays a troubled girl with a mixed relationship with her asthmatic mom, who is seeing a creepy looking manager of hers. Breathless! No prizes for guessing who hatches bad plans?

The movie is confused between being a thriller, a comedy, a supernatural thriller – therein lies its biggest problem. Just when you feel the vibes and intensity go up, it is dissipated using age-old tricks of silly comedy that you've no intention of indulging in. They're funny, let's give credit where it is due, but that fun is what stops you from being gripped by the so-called 'paranormal' happenings.

The plot takes massive liberties at every juncture just to create the thrill and suspense of a supernatural thriller. A body preserved in cold storage for three weeks and a psychology professor not willing to talk to the right authorities about his experiment – things like these need a lot more background. It is hard to relate to things happening randomly and lawlessly in a country with proper laws. Agreed, Indian hospitals are lackadaisical, but you don't just walk into cold storage and take away bodies. Sample this – three weeks is the total length of the mystery. Which means, when the hero gets the shady taxi, it wouldn't be more than a week but the car cover has a layer of red dust as if it were in the garage for ages.

In one night, he turns it, nay, customises it into a spanky new Contessa. If he had that kind of talent, what was he doing driving taxis? All this added just to give the hero his posh car, even if he were a taxi driver, and the movie the look of a supernatural thriller – I think is uncalled for.

The funniest bit of all is the melodrama at the end of the movie, that we cannot quite discuss sadly, because, spoilers! In short, the narrative goes haywire in the second half of the movie.

Vijay Deverakonda is now a pro at his dazed man-reluctantly-finds-himself-in-the-middle-of-action look and continues it 'in forced style'. When it comes to heroine Priyanka Jawalkar, we are sure we will see her in another movie, where she may have a little more to do than to fill fifteen minutes of Vijay Deverakonda's time.

In fact, Malavika Nair, as Sisira has a bigger role to play, albeit, not quite in the literal sense. The usual comedians, especially Madhu are endearing, but really, in all honesty – comedy for the story and story for the comedy are two different bits.

Rahul does have potential given how some parts of the movie were shot – especially the ones involving the car's paranormal powers – further enhanced by Jakes Bejoy's OST. One would hope, next time, he has greater clarity over what he wants the movie to feel like!

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film’s producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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