(1999) Taal Reviews

Plannetbollywood Review

I suspect that in the coming weeks film buffs around the world will now have another point to argue over. Now, I know that fans don’t need an excuse to argue over the merits or faults of a big budget venture, and we at Indolink get plenty of hate and love mail after every review we print, but “Taal” might just surpass all the hoopla of the past. My opinion: Is “Taal” amazingly entertaining? Certainly. Is “Taal” the ultimate in creativity? Certainly not.

The one thorn in the creative scheme of “Taal” is a major one – the storyline. Storywriting has never been one of Mr. Ghai’s strong points, and not since “Karz” has Ghai truly come up with a gripping plot. The storyline of “Taal” itself is extremely predictable. Manav (Akshaye) is the son of Jagmohan Mehta (Amrish Puri). Jagmohan, while at a hill station, meets famous local singer Tarabhai (Alok Nath) who just happens to have an attractive and talented daughter, Manasi (Aishwarya). Manav falls in love with Manasi, but due to the rich man-poor girl differences (and the usual rich, scheming relatives), the two fight. Manasi moves on to stardom and companionship with famous music remixer Vikrant Kapoor aka Kapu (Anil Kapoor), while Manav realizes the error of his family’s ways and tries to win Manasi back.

What is more interesting is the characters Ghai creates in this story. Every character is neither good nor bad – but grey human beings. Manav first comes off as the possessor of great inner-wisdom, but he surprises the audience when he is quick to lose his temper and is able to call off his relationship in a rash, whimsical manner. With Vikrant (who is THE most intriguing character of the film), one never knows if he is evil or good. Sometimes he speaks evil and does good, while at other times the opposite is true. And then there is Manasi. Although she is easily the most poorly-defined of the characters, she is seen as the innocent lover who becomes lost in the power and cold-heartedness of her new profession. When a man who Manasi feels nothing for asks her if she loves him, she is able to lie and say “yes” with a straight face. A chauvinist might argue that this is a true woman.

All three of these characters are played to perfection by the leading trio. Akshaye demonstrates that he is one of the most sincere actors on the Hindi screen. Aishwarya further demonstrates her radiant beauty, evolving acting talent, and amazing dancing capability. Anil Kapoor, however, steals this show with the author-backed role. True, he has all of the good lines, but still – he takes these lines and runs with them. Mr. Kapoor, you deserve an award and then some.

Production values are first rate. Ghai and cinematographer Kabir Lal use Aishwarya’s beauty to conjure up some incredibly gorgeous visuals that burst out at you from the screen. The title song (in its un-remixed form) is pure celluloid poetry. Incidentally, Saroj Khan reminds us through this song that she is the original queen of choreography. Sharmishta Roy creates a beautiful set for Aishwarya’s family home and another impressive one for Vikrant’s studio. A. R. Rehman’s music is divine as are Anand Bakshi’s lyrics.

Subhash Ghai is a smart man. He wins half of the battle by putting together what is arguably the strongest production team of the century. Names like A.R. Rehman, Sharmishta Roy, Anand Bakshi, Shiamak Davar, Ahmed Khan, Saroj Khan (all three hotshot choreographers), and Mr. Ghai himself come together to create a very, very powerful force. Don’t insult Mr. Ghai’s intelligence by comparing his film to any of the other recent releases. It’s not about Amitabh or Salman vs. Anil Kapoor or Akshaye; it’s about the team behind the scenes. THAT, my friends, is what makes a film run nowadays, and by those standards alone – “Taal” is a hit. That there are three good actors in these roles is an incidental finding. Put any half-competent actor in front of the camera in a project with such a strong foundation and it won’t make a difference – it will work.

Rediff Review

Here it is. After all that hype and hoopla, Subhash Ghai’s magnum opus, Taal, finally reaches the theatres.

Taal is the eternal triangle love story involving Mansi (Aishwarya Rai), Manav (Akshaye Khanna) and Vikrant (Anil Kapoor). Mansi, from Chamba in Himachal Pradesh, is the daughter of a village folk singer and dancer.

Manav is the son of a businessman who comes to Chamba to buy some land. He falls in love with the place — and Mansi. He promises her marriage and goes back to the city telling himself that love is faith and other things in the same vein.

But Manav’s foreign-bred aunt creates trouble and the lovers are separated. Mansi meets Vikrant Kapur who is a loud, flashy music director who also happens to own a music company.

Vikrant eyes light up on Mansi and he assures her she is star material. He makes her a star and falls for her himself.

This triangle isn’t all that different but where Ghai has scored magnificently is in the treatment. That makes is what makes the film worth the viewing and, so, a little difficult to judge.

Taal is shot beautifully and all the actors are made to look excellent. The locales in Himachal Pradesh are breathtaking. Only the story is absolutely unoriginal. But then, who cares.

After being praised for her looks and acting talent in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Aishwarya has excelled in Taal. She looks etheral and unlike the former film, has a very sober and soft role. Though she looks pained and tragic in most of the film, she does a good job of a woman who is very protective of her father and one who doesn’t think twice before rejecting a lover who has insulted her father.

She goes without make-up in the first half of the film and still looks mighty pretty. This role suits her and she has other good actors to work with. That ensures she really doesn’t take over though the film revolves around her character most of the time. And besides acting well she also dances beautifully.

Despite her previous record of flops, Ash always picked films that gave her scope to perform. With Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam she consolidated her position as an actress after being just a beautiful face for so long. Taal will again enhance her reputation as an actress while in no way detracting from her image as a traffic-stopper.

Akshaye is his usual self. He is a good actor who has often chosen his roles badly. His screen presence too could do with a boost. Here he is endearing as a young and besotted lover who won’t take no for an answer. Hopefully, this film should be able to do something for his career.

The film gets particularly interesting with Anil Kapoor’s arrival. If you wonder what Kapoor is doing in a youthful love story, think again. He is the best thing to happen to this film that, otherwise, may have been subsumed in prettiness. He plays the street-smart, cynical music composer commendably.

So you have him stealing folk songs and re-mixing them to rake in the moolah… Well, things like that.

This film is touted as the musical love story and you won’t be shortchanged on that count. Songs come every 15 minutes, and every one of them is good. Despite A R Rahman lamenting that he is getting repetitive, this isn’t where he runs through the formula again.

His style shows through despite his effort to maintain a very north Indian flavour. And it is in the picturisation that his songs actually gain in value. They tend to grow on you thereafter.

Unlike in Dil Se, Rahman’s earlier effort in Hindi where the songs were extraneous to the storyline but excellent by themselves, here the songs provide the bedrock for the movie and are weakened without it.

There are 12 songs in the film, all shot well. The background score, over which Rahman mulled so hard that he delayed the release, is pretty good too. Here, Rahman relies on jazz and some Western classical to bolster his tunes. And these meld well with the Indian music.

Hariharan has done a beautiful job in singing Mere samne tu, a poignant number about a beaten but still hopeful lover. It is undoubtedly the best song in the film. The choreography, as we mentioned, is excellent too.

Ghai dropped old favourite Ashok Mehta and picked Kabirlal to provide the cinematography. And Kabirlal has done a fantastic job. The whole film is soft, with very few scenes bordering on the dramatic.

All the characters are understated: Ash’s character is quiet and reserved, Akshaye’s is dashing and romantic… And despite Anil providing an element of excess, his character, infused with some seriousness, is complex enough not to allow you to dismiss him as another Bollywood loudmouth. Some vulnerability is clearly visible when he repeatedly confirms with Mansi that she loves him and then keeps repeating to himself that he loves her too.

Ghai’s Pardes hangover is visible. Taal has some similarities with Pardes: There is the family, brothers, sisters-in-laws, aunts and uncles… And the family is a ***** mixture of western and Indian.

And the village-bred girl? She has the qualities expected of the quintessential Indian girl — respectfulness and obedience. Here, like Pardes, the girl rebels when the boy’s family insults her’s.

If Mahima Chaudhary seemed excessively upset that she was dropped from the film, the reason is obvious: Aishwarya’s role is something any actress would give a great deal for.

This is Ghai’s dream film and he has been consistently been involved in its making — from the first script to the last cut. Though the editing leaves a lot to be desired — some scenes being a little disjointed — the film is very well showcased. While the subject could have been stronger, it is obvious that Ghai was more interested in making the film look good.

Well, either way, it is worth the effort seeing it — at least once.

India Station Review

Manav (Akshaye Khanna) is son of a rich businessman Jagmohan Mehta (Amrish Puri). The story starts at a hill station where Manav is visting along with his family. Manav meets Manasi (Aishwarya Rai), who is daughter of a famous local singer Tarabhai (Alok Nath). Manav and Manasa fall in love and sing a few songs around the trees.

After a few days Manav has to return back to Bombay leaving Manasi back in the hill station. Manasi decides to visit Manav, but is not treated well by Manav’s relatives because of the rich-poor differences. Her father is insulted by Manav’s father. Manav andd Manasi have a fight and Aishwarya Rai (Manasi) decides to leave and never return back to Manav. She stays in Bombay and meets Anil Kapoor who makes her a star. A few dance sequences follow. Anil Kapoor proposes Manasi but then come to know about her love. The movie ends at a happy note where Anil Kapoor helps Manav and Manasi to reunite.

Aishwarya Rai has given a tremendous performance in this movie. The dance sequences are very good with a gorgeous performance from her. Akshaye Khanna, Aishwarya Rai and Anil Kapoor all have playes their roles to the perfection. A. R. Rehman music is simply great.

Taal is a great movie. Aishwarya Rai has been able to push towards number one leaving behind Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor.

Rating : Excellent
Songs : Super Hits

Apunkachoice Review

Taal is promoted as a musical love story. Its a triangular love story at that. It’s main highlight is Aishwariya Rai’s beauty & acting and A R Rahman’s music.

Taal has the eternal love triangle involving Mansi (Aishwarya Rai), Manav (Akshaye Khanna) and Vikrant (Anil Kapoor).

Mansi, from Chamba in Himachal Pradesh, is the daughter of a village folk singer and dancer.

Manav is the son of a businessman who comes to Chamba to buy some land. He falls in love with the place — and Mansi. He promises her marriage and goes back to the city telling himself that love is faith and other things in the same vein.

But Manav’s foreign-bred aunt creates trouble and the lovers are separated. Mansi meets Vikrant Kapur who is a loud, flashy music director who also happens to own a music company.

Vikrant’s eyes light up on seeing Mansi and he assures her she is star material. He makes her a star and falls for her in the process.

Taal is shot beautifully and all the actors are made to look excellent. The locales in Himachal Pradesh are breathtaking. But the story is not all that original.

Aishwarya seems to be developing into a fine actress. She looks beautiful in a quite sober and soft role. Though she looks pained and tragic in most of the film, she does a good job of a woman who is very protective of her father and one who doesn’t think twice before rejecting a lover who has insulted her father.

Ghai’s style shows through despite his effort to maintain a very north Indian flavour. And it is in the picturisation that his songs actually gain in value. They tend to grow on you thereafter.

The music of Taal is doing extremely well. There are 12 songs in the film. Ghai has once again made his songs a treat for the eyes. Ramta Jogi may well have the audience on their feet.

Aag lage lag jaave has Aishvarya looking bewitchin

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