Web Series Review: Taali : Bollywood News

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Web Series Review: Taali : Bollywood News

TAALI is the story of an extraordinary person. The year is 1988. Ganesh Sawant (Krutika Deo) is a school-going boy who resides in Pune with his father, Inspector Dinkar Sawant (Nandu Madhav), mother (Aishwarya Narkar) and sister Swati (Hemangi Kavi). Ganesh realizes soon that he’s a girl trapped in a boy’s body. He finds happiness in applying lipstick and wearing his mother’s dupatta. Her mother is concerned about his behaviour but is supportive. Dinkar, however, is shocked and warns Ganesh to stop. Ganesh’s life is shattered when his mother passes away suddenly. Swati, too, gets married and Ganesh has no choice but to reside with his father, who doesn’t understand him at all. Cut to 2013. Ganesh is now Shreegauri Sawant (Sushmita Sen) after a sex change operation. She has made a name for herself through her activism. Now, she has knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court, demanding that transgenders be recognized as the third gender. What happens next forms the rest of the series.


Web Series Review: Taali


Kshitij Patwardhan’s story is terrific as Shreegauri Sawant’s journey makes for a great plot. Kshitij Patwardhan’s screenplay is very effective and intriguing. Not many know about where she came from and the challenges she had to face. As a result, one gets totally invested in her story. Moreover, the writer also enlightens viewers about certain aspects. For instance, men also pretend to be trans and beg on the streets, certain people from the trans community were against Shreegauri’s endeavour, etc. But in several places, the writing doesn’t do the desired justice. Kshitij Patwardhan’s dialogues are outstanding. In fact, one will be amazed to see such witty one-liners from start to finish.


Ravi Jadhav’s direction is exemplary. The expert filmmaker has creatively helmed several scenes which elevate the impact. For instance, Ganesh reads on the notice board in his building about the death in his family. But the way it’s depicted, one assumes that his father must have passed away. Any other filmmaker would not have thought of such a genius idea. Secondly, Shreegauri standing in between the male and female washroom sign is also a masterstroke as it sums up the show’s idea in a matter of seconds. Some other scenes that are memorable are Dinkar shaving his head while Shreegauri celebrates being trans, Shreegauri threatening cops and later the pimp while rescuing Gunjan, Shreegauri’s powerful speech at the conclave, Shreegauri fighting the hospital authorities etc. There are a few cute scenes as well in the film. The most notable among them is Shreegauri travelling by aeroplane for the first time.


On the flipside, TAALI is just 6 episodes and approx. 180 minutes long and yet, feels stretched in some parts. On the other hand, in some scenes, the narrative moves very quickly, skipping some important events of Shreegauri’s life. The makers don’t show viewers about Shreegauri’s USA visit though a lot of build-up is done about it before she flies to the foreign country. An important track in the show is of Shreegauri Sawant’s case in the Supreme Court. But very little time is devoted to the happenings in the court. We only hear her lawyer putting forward why transgender should be recognized as the third gender. We never get to know what the other side argues. It would have made for an interesting sequence. Lastly, there’s a slight change in the tonality of the show from the fourth episode. Until then, it’s more of an emotional drama but after the mid-point, it becomes quite hard-hitting. The shift happens suddenly and one wonders how come Shreegauri Sawant overnight become an activist and messiah of sorts.



Speaking of performances, Sushmita Sen delivers the best performance of her career. One has never seen this actor in such a form. She gets totally into the skin of her character and is sure to leave viewers in awe of her. Interestingly, TAALI is a bit in the zone of GANGUBAI KATHIAWADI [2022] zone but Sushmita ensures that one is reminded of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directorial or Alia Bhatt’s performance. Had TAALI been a film, Sushmita Sen would have had high chance of winning the National Award. Nandu Madhav gives a moving performance as the father who is caught between societal pressures and love for his child. Aishwarya Narkar is adorable in a cameo. Hemangi Kavi is decent. Sheetal Kale (Nargis) leaves a huge mark. Ankur Bhatia (Naveen) is lovely. The same goes for Suvrat Joshi (Munna). Ananth Narayan Mahadevan (Dean) delivers a stupendous performance. Maya Rachel McManus (Amanda) is okay. Chetan Shinde (Guru) and Amit Behl (JK) are wasted. Anil Rastogi (Judge K U Rathore), Vijay Vikram Singh (Shreegauri’s lawyer), Ajit Kelkar (Dr Biniwale) and Naren Prajapati (Mutthu) are fine.


Songs are well woven into the narrative and played in the background. The tracks which stand out are ‘Rahi Chal Raha’, ‘Pehchaan Le’ and ‘Aali Aali’. Mangesh Dhadkde’s background score enhances the impact. Raghav Ramadoss’ cinematography is neat. Vivek Prakash Maurya and Amish Chauhan’s production design is realistic. Uma Biju and Biju Antony’s costumes are straight out of life. Special mention should also go the make-up team. Faisal Mahadik’s editing could have been sharper.


On the whole, TAALI works due to Sushmita Sen’s most accomplished performance to date, an extraordinary story and some hard-hitting sequences.


Rating – 3 stars

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