The axe forgets but the tree remembers.

This African proverb aptly sums up the motif that runs through the whole duration of ‘Taish’ – Revenge. It’s a sordid tale of vengeance and betrayal that entangles two families into an epic tiff, that takes multiple lives into a downward spiral. Director Bejoy Nambiar’s most accomplished work till date, ‘Taish’ is huge on style as well as performance. With a non-linear narrative that goes back and forth between past and present, it keeps the viewer hooked to the screen till the last frame. Set in the UK, amidst the flourishing South-Asian diaspora, it talks about how lives can be derailed on the pursuit of revenge. In fact, there are multiple storylines that run in parallel to the central theme and keep fuelling it. The anger, the resentment that resides within the characters, explodes into the main act and sets the mood for an even more explosive finale. 

Spanning across two years, ‘Taish’ is the story of a family pre-wedding party going wrong as it begins with a vicious fight between two men, which ends with one man brutally bashing the other’s head with a heavy washbasin. As the narrative goes back and forth between two timelines, the viewer is introduced to two Sikh families – a rich and established family of Kalra’s getting ready for a wedding and a criminal family where a bitter feud between two brothers takes place due to the already married elder brother marrying the younger brother’s fiancé. A dark secret connects the two diametrically opposite families revelation of which culminates into a violent fight that seals the fate of the involved.

The director Bejoy Nambiar is known for his unique style of storytelling and penchant for stylish cinematography, quite evident from his previous films ‘Shaitan’(2011), ‘David’ (2013) and ‘Solo’(2017) In ‘Taish’ he explores the inherent rage within men, that drives them crazy. He pits two alpha males against each other, each bound by their urge to protect their loved ones. Yet he shows both of them equally vulnerable to love and loss and victim of their own circumstances. As a viewer, you want to take sides yet you cannot, for each side represents a version of the fact, which becomes their own truth. The repercussions of this tussle reverberate into a crescendo, as ‘an eye for an eye’ kind of revenge sets into motion. A simmering rage engulfs these men, as they keep going down in their quest of revenge. All for a momentary lapse of judgement or delayed action of justice? – well, that’s on you, dear audience. Take your pick!

‘Taish’ is a performance-driven film and credit should go to the troika that lifts the film on their able shoulders – Harshvardhan Rane, Jim Sarbh and Pulkit Samrat. Harsh exhibits a raw, passionate side of his character, as he is caught between his love and his loyalty, whereas the ever-dependable Jim Sarbh brings the depth to his character of Rohan Kalra, who inherently suffers from a buried secret of his own. Pulkit Samrat is the fiery, angst-driven faithful friend who can cross mountain for his friendship. As the three central characters, unfortunately, entangled in a messy confrontation, these actors are superb. The women caught in the middle of this epic mess are Kriti Kharbanda and Sanjeeda Sheikh, who are good in their assigned roles. In fact, Sanjeeda surprises with her ever emoting eyes, her crushed soul and poignant wait for her lover as the screen goes black. Saurabh Sachdeva and Abhimanyu Singh are great in their respective characters. Stunning cinematography by Harshvir Oberoi and equally stunning scores by Gaurav Godkhindi and Govind Vasantha heighten the tension in the sequences.

Shot as a film, it’s also available as a six-episode web series on the OTT platform. But for an engrossing view, one must watch them in episodic fashion, thus allowing the headspace to assimilate the tale that runs in a breakneck speed. A must watch.

‘Taish’ now streaming on Zee5. Running time 178 minutes for film and approx 30 mins for each episode of series. Maturity content – Adult for violence, mild sexual content.

The Cinemawala Rating: 3/5

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