PATAAKHA: an explosive analogy

Reminiscent of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (2013) which took on capitalist greed, similarly Pataakha works as a hyperbole. Pataakha is an exaggeration, in terms of plot and character – it’s too loud but the sound reaches the maximum decibel without driving away the point. And isn’t a firecracker loud? Pataakha is as melodramatic as it is paradoxically real, the hate doesn’t require a reason – while a reasonable amount supports hysterical nature, the narrative squabbles with moist eyes.

Pataakha is based on a short story “Do Behnein” by Charan Singh Pathik – Champa Kumari (Radhika Madan) and Genda Kumari (Sanya Malhotra), the two-squabbling sisters are always at loggerheads with each other. And an interesting character always adding fuel, Dipper (Sunil Grover) on the lines of Langda Tyagi from Omkara (2006). Note the names, derived from routine encounters which setting them on fire with a metaphor. Two-sisters are named after Marigold and Plumeria, the flowers standing for passion, serenity, grace and even promotion of good relations. But, the subtext never overtakes the comical narrative by dumping down the road; it stays within the alms of survival without conflict.

Vishal Bhardwaj twists’ the tagline of Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (2001)“It’s all about loving your parents” into “It’s all about hating your sibling”, for 2 hours 15 minutes you witness the tamasha of brawling sisters in somewhat monotonous yet thoroughly entertaining narrative. Pataakha depicts a fiery sibling rivalry which comes with spiteful hatred – and also stands as an analogy for India-Pakistan. There’s a rustic, raw and untempered flavour, a novelty which spices a dynamic essence; while distinct dialect tickles the funny bone.

In a peculiar sequence, daughters of Champa and Genda are mere witness of a brawl – hinting at citizens being mere (embarrassed) spectators during diplomatic discussions which doesn’t yield peace. Vishal Bhardwaj unapologetically sets in a rustic rural Rajasthan which adds scope of ambition and achievement; largely amounting for narrow thought perspective, it helps actualising the potential character development. Most viewers might struggle and grapple with Rajasthani dialect, but it doesn’t quite hinder in understanding. Nevertheless, the dialect keeps crackling the comical firebrand.

Radhika Madan and Sanya Malhotra are not only firecrackers but a steal dynamite – delivering a rousing fierce performance. Being unique yet individualistic nuances soaked by Radhika and Sanya bring the characters a vicious liveliness. Both are epitome of an erupting volcano; igniting magical joy of performing. Vijay Raaz breaths the rustic flavour with a commendable performance, it’s so refreshing to see him in a full-fledged role lately. Sunil Grover brings his trademark humour while possessing different chores.

Pataakha’s distinctive tone may keep a viewer aloof from it’s point, but an explosive analogy can evidently be read. While the contemporary India is in the alms of a patriotic zone, here is a filmmaker making a political commentary about peace; I’ve come across a comment which generalises the tone of the film. Comprehend yourself:


Language: Hindi, Rajasthani
Release: 28 September, 2018
Rating: 4/5


Copyright ©2018 Ninad Kulkarni. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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