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Taxiwaala - Movie Review

  • 18 November 2018

'Taxiwaala', starring Vijay Deverakonda in the lead, has arrived at the theatres. Let's find out what works and what doesn't.

Story:

Shiva (Vijay Deverakonda) is a cabbie who buys a vintage car from Raghu Ram (Sijju Menon), a rich man who suspiciously sells the car for a small amount. Madhu Nandan and debutant Vishnu play the hero's sidekicks. As soon as he owns the car, Shiva starts sensing something supernatural. A baby doll in the car signifies the presence of a soul in it.

The plot thickens when a doctor (Uttej in a cameo) is killed by the ghost in the car.

It's now clear to Shiva that the car has a secret. He decides to discover it. In the process, the hero discovers some truths about the dead doctor and stumbles upon a Psychology professor who has an unfinished mission to complete.

Analysis:

First things first. There are some surefooted elements in the movie that the audience are going to like. Horror-comedy as a genre makes 'Taxiwaala' a breezy affair. Vijay Deverakonda as an aspirational youngster who wants to make money and keep his brother and sister in law (Ravi Prakash and Kalyani) happy packs time-tested sentimentalism. There is a family audience in all of us and this element will appeal to that person in us.

After the doctor's character is killed by the taxi, you might predict that there must be a medical scam. But the story takes a different direction involving a mother and a daughter, a man who backstabs and a professor who becomes someone's only hope.

If the story is decent, it's the narration that is the winner. The characters played by Madhu Nandan and Vishnu (who was seen in a few short films) are interspersed with the story. Together with Deverakonda, they deliver situational humour. With their quirky behaviour, they make some scenes a true blue horror-comedy.
 
It's to the credit of the hero that he doesn't let his stardom hijack the story. Deverakonda respectfully gives space to the story and other players, especially Malavika Nair's Sisira character.

Without being melodramatic, the film conveys the emotions soundly. The songs seamlessly merge into the narration.  

All the while, the visuals please the audience and the VFX work is fairly good. Cinematographer Sujith Sarang is joined by Sync Cinema and Jakes Bejoy's measured and effective BGM.

On the downside, debutant director Rahul Sankrityan is carried away by the flashback. It should have been trimmed by at least 15 minutes. Once the audience can see through the trajectory, it's not wise to drag any flashback. Astral Projection as an idea is innately intriguing and the film should have projected it in an exciting manner. Malavika Nair, otherwise a very good actress, doesn't look serious enough.
 
Vijay is lovable and carries himself with élan throughout. It's to the makers' credit that they didn't overdo his character despite him being a star hero. The comedians, including Chammak Chandra and Kireeti, add value. Madhu Nandan and Vishu, of course, have full-fledged roles. Kalyani, Yamuna, Ravi Varma and others are good.

Bottomline: This is a screenplay-oriented film where situational comedy and the emotions play a big role. In telling such a story, debutant Rahul Sankrityan succeeds. There are minor hiccups (like a lengthy flashback, runtime) but overall, 'Taxiwaala' is a neat thriller.