Review: Well-known Marathi actress Nishigandha Wad essays the role of a lawyer (Sandhya Purushottam), who fights to safeguard the rights and property of poor famers in rural Maharashtra. She is thus conferred the title of ‘tai’ (elder sister) by the locals, who
consider her as their only saviour.
Sandhya (Wad) dares to oppose the politicians and builders, who lure the uneducated famers of Poisar, Maharashtra, into selling their land for less than its market price. Those in power falsely promise the needy, jobs in the factory that would be constructed on their land. Tai sees through the devious intentions of the rich and corrupt. She convinces the farmers to refuse the deal. She takes the matter to court and bravely faces the repercussions of her feisty movement. Other than fighting the political and social storm, tai struggles with her personal life, too.
Sandhya’s character has been inspired by slain social activist Navleen Kumar, who worked for the adivasis of Thane district of Maharashtra. For more than a decade, Navleen fought against corrupt politicians and land mafia, using legal intervention. The human rights activist was brutally murdered in 2002. Unfortunately, the film focuses more on her ‘alleged’ personal life and marital woes. Her fight against injustice seems like a backdrop.
Tai trapped in a marriage that was never consummated, she seeking sexual intimacy in a good friend, she yelling, ‘I have full sex appeal’ to her impotent husband, she sheepishly flipping through Kama Sutra, a corrupt politician bedding innocent village girls, random item girls showing ample cleavage as they pop up out of nowhere for a dance number… there is a thin line between bold and sleazy and Tai enters the sleazy category when it comes to depicting the alleged personal life of tai, which we are told, is fictional to a certain extent. It all seems like a ploy to attract the front-benchers.
Thengdi terribly loses the plot, especially in the first half. The story goes haywire with random characters making substantial appearances. Scenes begin and end abruptly, thus looking disjointed. An attempt to shuttle between past and present fails too, as everything looks random.
You don’t really get to know much about Tai, the person, her beliefs and philosophies. Thengdi, who plays the lead villain (Subodh Singh), is seen more than his protagonist. He however, acts well as the conniving, unethical, politician. What makes Tai, the iron lady, different from the rest and her journey is missing.
Nishigandha Wad acts well. She provides dignity to a film that borders on being titillating in most segments. She is the reason you hope the film will take off somewhere, and it does in the second half to a small extent. The film eventually focuses solely on the issue you go looking for to begin with, but only in the last few minutes! The dialogues are not strong enough either.
Story: Tai is an ode to slain human rights activist Navleen Kumar who fought for more than a decade to protect and restore the lands of poor Adivasis.