With the release of ‘Tejas’, a film centered around the valiant journey of an ambitious airforce officer, Tejas Gill, portrayed by the illustrious Kangana Ranaut, the silver screen is once again graced with a narrative embedded in bravery, patriotism, and the fight against terror. Helmed by Sarvesh Mewara, the film endeavors to weave together a tale of fortitude and resilience, albeit with a journey that encounters as many turbulences as the aircrafts themselves.
Kangana Ranaut, an actress who has etched her name in the annals of Bollywood with powerhouse performances in ‘Queen’ and ‘Tanu Weds Manu’, takes on the mantle of Tejas Gill with a fervor that is synonymous with her reputation. The National Award-winning actress brings to the table an expectation of transcendence, a beacon of hope that perhaps, even if the storm clouds gather, her performance would be the silver lining. However, ‘Tejas’ proves to be a challenging terrain, even for an actress of Ranaut’s caliber.
The film introduces us to Tejas Gill, a woman of exemplary mettle, unyielding in her pursuit of flying solo and taking on the most daunting missions. The narrative kicks off on a rather perplexing note, with Kangana’s portrayal swinging between extremes, moments of unintentional humor punctuating her on-screen presence. The inconsistency in her performance is stark, more so when juxtaposed with seasoned actors like Sunit Tandon, who plays her instructor. The juxtaposition lays bare the chasms in the portrayal, the missed beats in a performance that could have been.
The film’s technical aspects do little to salvage the turbulence. The VFX, a crucial element in a film that revolves around the Air Force, disappoints, with aircrafts reduced to seemingly toy-like entities against a green-screen-turned-sky. In an era marked by technological advancements, such lapses are glaring. Coupled with questionable editing choices, the film struggles to find its rhythm, its pace erratic, its trajectory uncertain.
However, not all is lost in the stormy skies of ‘Tejas’. The second half of the film brings with it a glimmer of redemption. Kangana’s performance finds its footing, her portrayal of Tejas Gill gaining the strength and conviction that was amiss. The narrative picks up pace, the action sequences pulsating with energy, clawing back some of the ground lost. Yet, the scars of the first half remain, the film’s redemption incomplete.
In the midst of the tumult, Anshul Chauhan, who essays the role of Afia, shines brightly, her comic timing and quirkiness bringing much-needed respite and vibrancy to the screen. Ashish Vidyarthi, in a brief appearance, delivers a performance marked by ease and conviction.
Mewara, who pulls double duty as both writer and director, navigates the film through its turbulent journey with a vision that flickers, inconsistencies marring the narrative. The villains, lacking in depth and foresight, serve as a testament to the film’s haphazard planning. Yet, in its portrayal of communities and its thematic undercurrents of women empowerment, ‘Tejas’ shows glimpses of balance and thoughtfulness.
For the ardent Kangana Ranaut fan, ‘Tejas’ might still hold allure, a testament to the unwavering loyalty of fandom. For others, particularly those with ties to the Air Force, the film might prove to be a challenging ride, its inconsistencies too glaring to ignore.
In a landscape where cinema has the power to inspire, to elevate, and to transcend, ‘Tejas’ finds itself caught in the crosswinds, its journey a reminder that even the mightiest can falter, and that the road to redemption, much like the skies, is fraught with unpredictability.