Living in a small village in Rajasthan, Badki (Radhika Madan) and Chutki (Sanya Malhotra) are two sisters who quarrel over literally anything, no matter how moot the point may be, ending up things in aggressive brawls. Most of the times, their fights are instigated by their friend and neighbour Dipper (Sunil Grover) which neither the duo nor their father Bapu (Vijay Raaz) realises. When the financial problems in business become prominent, Bapu is forced to borrow a huge sum of ₹4 lakhs (₹400k) from Tharki Patel (Saanand Patel) who infamously is a licentious fellow. In return, Patel asks Bapu to marry him one of his girls to him.
Will Bapu agree to wed one of his beloved daughters to a scum like Patel? Will Badki or Chutki welcome this deal especially when both of them have boyfriends? What role will Dipper play in this entire drama?
Positive Points: –
- Pataakha (literal meaning ‘Cracker’) is filled with raw energy and is powered by a no-hold-barred execution both in terms of acting and filmmaking.
- The performances of Malhotra, Madan, Raaz and Grover.
- The humour in the film is crude but highly effective. Pataakha will be a laugh riot for you if you are okay with its lack of embellishments.
Negative Points: –
- There’s no strong plot supporting the narrative of the movie. It just revolves around the fights of both the sisters and all you see throughout the film is the variations of the same.
- Pataakha ends with a thud and no aspect of its ending seemed convincing.
Direction, Screenplay & Other Technicalities: –
As the writer-director of the film, the best thing Vishal Bharadwaj did was to keep his film far away from any sorts of glamour. Not just the story or the environment but even his characters are believable village people who lack the basic refinement of city behaviour. What’s even better is the way the actors are deglamourised in accordance with their respective characters (unlike Sui Dhaaga) and at times even depicted to be appallingly ugly as opposed to their real-life-selves. The narrative gets an ample support from its other technical aspects such as cinematography and editing which glorify its unvarnished making. However, the film lacks is a good plot to keep the audience hooked to. I do not claim that Pataakha is boring but its no-story premise will take a toll on your time in its latter half. It focuses heavily on why the sisters detest each other and how they express their disgusts but (almost) never covers their love for one another. It lacks an emotional thrust which one should expect from a supposedly family drama, no matter the comedy, and any such attempts just billow out in a matter of moments. That only made the rushed ending of the film a whole more unconvincing as the viewer is forced to accept certain things which never happened in the due course of the movie.
Building a script that is crude and doing make-ups on your actors in a similar fashion is definitely effective for a movie like this, but it’s the performances of the actors which ultimately decide the state of the film. Much to our and the makers’ delight, the entire cast of Pataakha set the screen on fire. Radhika Madan makes a dream debut as she makes a shining mark in the presence of several established actors. She and Malhotra instil the madness which was demanded both in their characters and in effect to their interactions. They never seem out of place in any frame and even if they did, I couldn’t notice it. Long way to go girls! Vijay Raaz, who plays the role of the troubled father of the girls, is undeniably sterling in his demeanour and overall execution. He brings in some maturity and sympathy amidst all the craziness that goes on in the course of the film. Other actors like Namit Das, Saanand Patel and Abhishek Duhan also impart fine renditions, but the prize for the best of all is taken by Sunil Grover. Grover effortlessly slips into the skin of a ridiculous character and imbibes its charlatan nature as his very own. Despite portraying a negative trait, he never makes you consider him as an antagonist and at times even support his trickeries which also induce a lot more laughs into the premise of the film. If Madan and Malhotra are the pataakhas (crackers), Grover is the one who ignites them!
Final Verdict: –
Vishal Bharadwaj’s Pataakha is as raw as it can get and that’s its most positive aspect. He brings out the best from his actors irrespective of their screen space, especially the lead girls who build up the film’s intensity in the most apposite manner. Its eccentric humour and loads of roars and fights make it a roller coaster ride which is amusing in its own way, making up for a pretty fine single time watch.