Have you seen those 90-minute Hollywood action flicks where a seemingly simple hero takes on an antagonist (mostly a mafia boss), the stakes are limited, there is enough budget for a few explosions and car crashes, and the script gives you the satisfaction of familiarity with few subversions?
If you are someone who likes that flavour, you might be doubly disappointed with Takkar as you would realise that Karthik G Krish had ample space, scope, and resources to pull off one such movie. And oh, the film also attempts to create a Gus Fring-ish villain; if Los Pollos Hermanos was the Breaking Bad baddie’s front for illegal activities, in Takkar, a Korean man who is always on the Upward Lotus Pose has a taxi company where a scratch on the expensive BMW will be paid back with a scratch on the driver’s body.
On the contrary, after this two-hour movie, one wonders if it’d have been better had it taken more time to realise itself. Takkar, Karthik’s debut feature effort, has an intriguing set of things assimilating as the set-up, they lead to a peculiar conflict, and we even get an impressive pre-climax. To top it off, we have a terrific Siddharth giving his A-game. However, everything in between is a mess.
Director: Karthik G Krish
Cast: Siddharth, Divyansha Kaushik, Yogi Babu, RJ Vigneshkanth, Abhimanyu Singh
Runtime: 139 minutes
Storyline: A young man’s quest to earn more money takes him on a dangerous ride, but at the edge of life, he finds meaning, and with it, love
“Mayir-la kuda panakkaara mayir-ku dhan madhippu.”….“Kovapadradhu nalladhu dhan, aana kovapadradhukkum thagudhi venum.” These are two of the many lessons that Gunashekar a.k.a Guns (Siddharth), a young man from an underprivileged rural background, is forced to learn in following the normal, ethical route to ascend the social ladder. As he struggles to find his place in a new city, he questions if self-esteem and self-respect are the prices to pay for wealth in this world. He joins the cab company of the aforementioned Korean man as at least he gets to drive around BMWs and Mercedes.
Have you ever wondered what you’d do if you come across a bag full of money somewhere? Guns, having been pushed to the edge of life, chooses to go all Ryan Gosling’s Driverwhen one such opportunity comes his way, only to be sent back flying once again. Guns would soon realise that when life pushes you to a corner, the only way is forward. Through a well-staged and impressive choreographed action sequence, Guns realises that he can fight back if he chooses to and that he has been having an action hero within him all this while. But the result puts him in the crosshairs with a bunch of women traffickers who have kidnapped Mahalakshmi a.k.a Lucky (Divyansha Kaushik).
Guns inadvertently rescues Lucky, and we realise that they are both in similar circumstances. They are both castaway from normal life and they have no hope or wish to go back to their lives; as Lucky says, if the kidnappers are selling her to many men, her own father, a rich brat businessman, wants to sell her to a man by marriage for a good business deal. Lucky’s father, the Korean cabbie company baddie, the henchmen of the human traffickers search for the two who are wandering, seeking pleasure in the nomadic, in-the-moment hippie life. There’s also a hint of sexual tension between Lucky and Guns.
Throughout Takkar, you get the feel as if this is a criminally reduced cut of a bigger movie because nothing really sustains — except for the annoying comedy by Yogi Babu and RJ Vigneshkanth. We get the idea of what the writer in Karthik, along with story writer Shrinivas Kaviinayam, is going for but it never really comes together on screen. Interspersing the whole cat-and-mouse game with meaningless comedy scenes and passable song sequences makes it a duller affair.
The biggest mystery of the film, meanwhile, is the character of Lucky. She comes across as a placard out of the script, etched with words and ideas, but never as a real human. For instance, we don’t know enough about why she likes Guns in the first place and what she’s been thinking the whole time. After all, this is a man who called her ‘an accidental trophy’. For someone who speaks of wanting freedom and challenges the limitations of modern-day relationship structures, the institution of marriage, and the necessity to put a tag on everything, why does she choose what Guns proposes? A line about how she sees her mother in him undoes everything we thought about her.
The writing is so contrived and the screenplay meanders into some utterly boring scenes that nothing helps in shaking you away from an issue you felt in the first half; it’s like a hole in a fabric that you keep fidgeting with. Right at the beginning, there’s a scene where Guns drops Lucky at her home. After a horrible date, she is seated in the back wearing a gorgeous dress. However, for some reason, her chest is blurred throughout the ride. If this was done for the film to get a U/A certificate, you wonder what issues the Censor board might have had. If they are progressive enough to retain a kissing scene and the discussions about sex, what’s the deal with a woman wearing a dress she likes?
On the flip side, this is also the same film in which we have a sensible hero playing a character who, being stuck in the middle of nowhere, wears his female friend’s clothes and lets her apply make-up on him. It’s commendable on Siddharth’s part to have shown how a man, or a “hero”, with a secure masculinity would find no “shame” in dressing up or putting on make-up. And Siddharth as Guns is truly the biggest takeaway from the film. He fits the bill and steals all eyeballs so much so that you wish to see him in an adrenaline-pumping action movie. But for all that he has given it, you wish Takkar had more than a good one-liner.
Takkar is currently running in theatres