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Taali: Gauri Sawant Deserved Better Than This



Taali: Bajaungi Nahin Bajwaungi(JioCinema; 6  Episodes)

Rating: **

A brave  bountiful central performance  by Sushmita Sen cannot rescue this dull limpid  bio-series from falling flat  on its virtuous  face.

Ravi Jadhav, a powerful name in Marathi cinema(I  especially like his film Nude)  whips up a frenzy of righteous  indignation  for the transgender  community(suddenly  in-demand in our web shows, there is  a pivotal trans character in Made In Heaven2). But not much else.  The series feels like  a textbook in motion with very little spontaneity , let alone any flashes  of inspiration.

The storytelling is bolstered  more by a studied political  correctness.  Sushmita Sen’s transformative performance is  designed to be  career-defining. She is  especially  effective in showing Gauri’s physical metamorphosis  from  a shy  effeminate mumma’s boy  to a fierce and  militant  fighting for  the right of the third sex.

The  childhood chapter  of Gauri’s life as  a boy is  played by wonderful young actress Krutika Deo. The rest  of the supporting cast is killingly listless.

The  basic story  of Gauri Sawant’s struggle  for dignity and voting rights for the trans community is  astonishing. Director Ravi Jadhav and his writer Kishitij Patwardhan seem  so enamoured of their subject that they lose all objectivity. The  deification applied to a seriously flawed  life make it seem as though  the struggles and battles of a marginalized canonizes them.

In  truth the battle of the non-mainstream  community are far from pleasant, let alone imitative. The series is more verbal than visual , with Sushmita’s Gauri talking to  journalists , social workers  and  bureaucrats  rather than living that challenging  life that  the real Gauri did in order to win dignity for  her community.

Especially awkward  are the moments when Sushmita’s Gauri lets  out  her Mata Kali  banshee yells  every time she is losing an argument. The last episodes get particularly  embarrassing when, after a colleague’s death , Gauri barges into a snorting bureaucrat(Ananth Mahadevan)’s chamber threatening to  undress herself  unless he apologizes…

I am not too  sure  poor Mahadevan is supposed to apologize for . But Ananth, I  could feel  your pain,

As  for Sushmita’s Gauri, she  never lets us forget she is playing to the galler. Chewing paan or chewing up her opponents, Gauri is out to get her claps.

If only the series had used gentler  brush strokes  for the bruised! Instead  of  watching this  blizzard  of  melodrama  from the  bleeding hearts’ club, watch Neeraj Ghaiwan’s three minute advertisement for  Vicks  featuring the real  Gauri Sawant.

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