'Pataakha' movie review: All the world's a boxing ring

'Pataakha' movie review: All the world's a boxing ring

A scene from 'Pataakha'.


Rating: 2.5/5

Hindi (U/A)

Cast: Sanya Malhotra, Radhika Madan, Vijay Raaz

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj

All the world’s a stage. And it just turns into a boxing ring with Pataakha.

Vishal Bhardwaj returns from his Shakespearean adaptations to a few home truths. The main actors here are India and Pakistan, in the form of two feuding, foul-mouthed sisters. Throw in a mediator 'Amrika' dadi and the political pataakha is ready to rocket.  

Chutki and Badki (Sanya Malhotra and Radhika Madan, top class) have an impeccable taste for each other’s throat. The duels are downright dirty. When the limbs give up, the tongues turn into weapons of mass destruction. And the domestic dynamite goes off with an armoury of expletives. The political targets go well beyond the neighbourhood — Israel and Palestine, the two Koreas... It’s up to two warring siblings in a rusty Rajasthan village to take the first steps towards world peace.

Well, well, Bhardwaj has bigger ambitions here. But a mere tale of Do Behnein (the source text) doesn’t hold enough fuel for greater goals.

Of course, the girls punch and kick real hard to bring alive the India-Pak clashes. They are raw and rural (and badly in need of a scrub), but oozing the familiar Bhardwaj charm. The statutory warning remains a fixture on the screen as the sisters and their bechara baap (Vijay Raaz) light beedis by the dozen.  

One girl wants to open a dairy, the other wants to open a school. Their men keep them happy, but discord comes in the form of Dipper (Sunil Grover), the local Narad who triggers petty fights with his whaboutery. So even a harmless "sulfie" gets the claws out.

The fights never end. The reason? Bhardwaj doesn’t give one. Maybe, as they say, the show(down) must go on! But you need more ammo for that.

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