One of the scenes in the movie Tejas that shows the title character’s early days in the Air Force Academy has a moment where the instructor asks whether anyone has any questions. Our leading lady stands up and asks when can I fly? It is almost as bizarre as an over-enthusiastic computer engineer asking his teacher when is the campus placement in the middle of the second year. What I am trying to say is that the very thick strokes of jingoistic drama visible in the movie from the word go are really difficult to sit through, especially when nothing is working in favor of the film on a craft level.
Tejas is our central protagonist, an airforce pilot who flies the Indian military’s Tejas aircraft. She is known for her disobedience, as she puts the nation first in every operation. What we see in the movie is a rescue mission headed by Tejas and her friend to help a former academy mate who got captured by the terrorists. How they pulled off this practically impossible mission is what we witness in this fictional story.
RSVP, who tasted success with a movie like Uri, hopes to repeat the same box office acceptance by redoing another Uri in an extremely fictional space. The “Present Day” in Tejas is the inauguration day of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. While the level of gizmo gadget operation in Uri was showy yet believable, here things are way too flashy, and in fact, the sasta Mission Impossible vibe you get is actually making some of the supposed-to-be goosebumps moments funny. Remember the corridor set piece in MI Ghost Protocol? Ya, you get to see a different version of that technology, and instead of a confined place, they have chosen the entire airstrip.
The story part of the movie is pretty basic. You have an over-enthusiastic fighter pilot who has encountered personal losses due to a terror attack, deciding to pounce on an opportunity to kill those terrorists. I do agree with the fact when you look at movies on an abstract level, even classics can be described like that. But the issue with Sarvesh Mevara’s film is that it pretty much remains in that abstract level of writing, trying desperately to please the gallery with hyper-nationalistic overdose.
I don’t think the political inclination of the movie needs to be debated, as it is obvious from the trailer whom they are trying to please. By making Ayodhya the venue of the climax, where Muslim terrorists have placed a bomb, the movie unabashedly enters that Islamophobic space. The only thing that was worth appreciating was the cinematography, which, combined with the production design, created a quality visual aesthetic for the film by using a restrained color palette. The visual effects of the movie are a mixed bag as some moments created in CG looked exceptionally real, while a large chunk of them lacked finesse. The editing of the final moments of the movie was way too chaotic, not giving the audience a sense of the space and not even allowing us to understand who is the enemy and who is on our side.
Kangana Ranaut is showing her talent in moments that need the character to be in a calmer or silent space. Whenever the role demands a sense of enthusiasm, her performance becomes a little too loud. Anshul Chauhan plays the role of Arfa, the friend and mission partner of Tejas, who is forced to do some comedy at unnecessary points in the screenplay. Malayali actor Vishak Nair gets an important role in the film, but that scene where two lines sung by Tejas in the desert motivate him to get up on his feet was one of those so bad, its good kind of moments. Varun Mitra as Ekveer was my favorite in the lot, as his smoothness in performing the role of Tejas’ love interest gave some grace to those moments. Ashish Vidyarthi, Sunil Tandon, Mohan Agashe, etc, are the other names in the cast.
If you were a fan of Gadar 2, not as an unintended comedy, then Tejas might well work for you. Tejas is basically a fusion of Mission Impossible and Top Gun but with the political sensitivity and coherence of the Sunny Deol starrer. It clearly belongs to the list of those establishment-pleasing Goebbelsian movies that have been getting made in the past few years, And just like most of them, the agenda is pretty much on the face with no efforts taken to improve the writing or making aspects of these shallow war cries.
Tejas is basically a fusion of Mission Impossible and Top Gun but with the political sensitivity and coherence of the Sunny Deol starrer.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended