I was watching a recent interview with Raj and DK, the creators of the latest series Guns and Gulaabs, and one of the things they mentioned about their creative choices was avoiding the obvious. For example, they would choose not to show an antenna setting scene to establish it is the ’90s. The reason why I am talking about that particular creative choice in my review of Taali, the new JioCinema original series, is because the writing of the Sushmita Sen starrer is full of very obvious template scenes presented without any sort of creative effort to make the viewer empathize with the struggle of the transgender community.
The series is based on the real-life story of activist Shreegauri Sawant, aka Gauri. She was the person who decided to fight for the fundamental rights of transgender people. What we see in the series is her journey from childhood to that penultimate point where she had to face several roadblocks and judgments before achieving something significant for her community.
Contents made simply for awareness have this nature of being very loud in terms of presenting the drama and conflict in the story. Taali is one such content that doesn’t really believe in narrating the story compellingly. It just wants to document the bullet points the makers have chosen to create this Shreegauri Sawant biopic. The rhyming dialogues of the central character and the broad-stroke narrative style made me wonder whether Rajat Arora and Farhad Samjhi wrote the script of the series.
As Gauri, Sushmita Sen shapes her performance, matching the loud tone of the series. There is a commanding aura in how she carries the character, which works in some of the dramatic sequences. The decision to make her play the younger version of Gauri was a terrible one, especially in that sequence where 47-year-old Sen is playing the part of the younger sister to 34-year-old Hemangi Kavi. Krutika Deo, who played the youngest version of the central character, was really good. Many other Marathi actors are also part of the cast. But the writing is so cheesy and one-dimensional that none of those performances ever really manages to register an impact.
Ravi Jadhav, who has directed the series, is not using the format’s scope in any way to make this real story impactful. He is just using the existing template of true stories where you can easily guess the key points. When the story hits a particular tragedy in the final episode of the series, I was hoping the genericness we witnessed till that point would end and something worth appreciating would eventually happen. But what the character did in that finale to get respect actually kind of felt very problematic and made me wonder whether that incident really happened that way or whether the makers took the cinematic liberty.
Taali has 6 episodes with an approximate duration of 30 minutes each. As a series, it is an absolute dud that doesn’t offer anything substantially praise-worthy in this crowded OTT space. The only good thing about the series is that since Jiocinema is free, the possibility of Shreegauri Sawant getting a wider reach and appreciation for what she has done for the community is high.
The only good thing about the series is that since Jiocinema is free, the possibility of Shreegauri Sawant getting a wider reach and appreciation for what she has done for the community is high.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended