Bejoy Nambiar’s Taish is a slick tragedy that follows the unfortunate trajectory of a group of Colaba crossfit bros who find themselves in a face-off against Noida #gymfreaks and how their lives’ challenges blow up from stepping past horse excreta at Mahalaxmi Race Course to being stuck on the DND Flyway.
Wait, not really.
But Nambiar’s film has the emotional resonance of an Uber ghosting you the moment they hear Noida, thereby making it seem like a stylish exploration of… nothing.
Taish, (which, according to Google, means ‘anger’), opens with Jim Sarbh labouring through his Hindi dialogues like they are office-hour Tulsi Pipe Road traffic. This is somewhat understandable—he plays Rohan, a doctor brought up in the UK. However, everyone around him — friends, family, partner — seem to have missed the ‘main thodi thodi Hindi bolta’ bus despite having similar histories, making you wonder if Rohan distorted his language deliberately so that Navika Kumar could never figure out anything he was saying. For example, ‘maal hai kya’ in Rohanese would be ‘mall hair care’. See?
Anyway, so Rohan and his gang are one half of the Taish story. The other half is Pali (Harshvardhan Rane) and his gang of Punjabi mafia in London. Pali has the kind of personality where you half-expect him to stop in the middle of a chore to take a bicep selfie. He is the protégé of Kuli, a perpetually disgruntled older man who has forced Pali’s girlfriend to marry him. Now Pali is understandably upset and goes around disrupting Kuli’s businesses and casting that far-away, disheartened look that male models have while modelling distressed denims.
At a party for Rohan’s brother’s marriage, Kuli is invited and Rohan goes into shock. It is later revealed that Kuli sexually abused Rohan when he was 10 years old. It is a rare moment in Hindi cinema where the makers try to explore the trauma of sexual abuse among men, a subject never brought up in the...