Review of “Tiki Taka” – An interesting story idea lost in an over the top execution.
Director – Parambrata Chatterjee
Cast – Parambrata Chatterjee, Emona Enabula, Ritabhari Chakraborty, Paran Bandopadhyay, Kharaj Mukherjee, Saswata Chatterjee, Kanchan Mullick
Towards the beginning of the film Tiki Taka, the narrator gives a statuary warning that what he is going to tell may sound absolutely absurd but you have to believe it. As the story progresses the audience understand that he was not wrong, it is a story that no one can explain logically. It is not mandatory for a film to be always logical and realistic but it is expected to engage the audience to the plot, unfortunately Tiki Taka fails to do that for most of the part. The story is very refreshing with lot of potential to make a good comedy out of it but sadly the over the top execution prevents it to be anything beyond an average entertainer.
The story is about a guy from Senegal named Khelechi (Emona Enabula) who comes to Kolkata with an opportunity to earn some money for his mother’s treatment but unfortunately not everything goes as per his plan. He gets involved with some unwanted issues that turns into life threatening problem for him. To save his life his local friend Raju (Parambrata Chatterjee) , a taxi driver who had picked him up from airport, spreads rumors that Khelechi is a world famous footballer who is in Kolkata to play a derby match. This rumor adds more chaos to the situation as it involves two major football clubs from Kolkata Young Bengal and Natun Bagan (modeled on East Bengal and Mohun Bagan). Both the team’s coaches as well as the fans want Khelechi to play for them. Thus a random common man from Senegal becomes a super star footballer all of a sudden. How Khelechi along with his friend Raju comes out of this chaos forms the rest of the film.
There are several footballers from African countries who have played for Football clubs in Kolkata. So a Senegalese man mistaken as a footballer is a very relatable concept. Story writer Rohan Ghose and Shouvik Banerjee deserves credit for coming up with this refreshing idea but they must have done much better job with the screenplay. The biggest drawback of the film is the reason for creating the false identity of the leading man Khelechi. It looks like a forced plot twist. How spreading the rumor about him being a footballer can save his life that is never clear in the film. In fact getting such an overnight popularity can actually cause more trouble for a person who is trying to hide from gangsters. Also how everyone in the city from common man to media persons to football club authorities believe this rumor without doing any cross verification looks very much unconvincing. Although the makers have tried to convince that it happened many years ago when common people did not have easy internet access but still it never looks like an historical era when even media persons were not aware of google search.
Moreover the way the writers have captured the emotions of Bengalis for football and the rivalry of the two most popular football clubs that never looks authentic. It seems it has been written from the perspective of an outsider who has only heard about these things but never experienced those feelings being there in the actual situation. For example the coach or the fan of Young Bengal (East Bengal) has to talk in Bangladeshi dialect shows their lack of in depth interest about the things.
There are many attempts to add comedy in the film but unfortunately very few of those lands properly rest are the scenes which might have sounded funny in papers only. For example the prologue scene featuring two popular young actors in a cameo could have been a laugh riot but the cold expressions from the two actors fails to generate enough laugh. Also the writers must know mainstream cinema has progressed a lot, making fun of someone’s complexion or sexual harassment at work place is not considered as funny anymore.
Except for Sonar Pahar, Parambrata Chatterjee has never been much appreciated as a director but still he is considered as an evolving film maker who is polishing his craft with every other film. But with Tiki Taka he has tried to attempt something totally out of his comfort zone and it is showing. He has tried to make an out an out mainstream entertainer. In an attempt to do that he has made everything look over the top which does not look good on screen. He must understand mainstream cinema does not necessarily mean to be silly and loud.
Same things can be said for Parambrata, the actor also. His over the top tapori act never looks convincing. He is effective in few emotional scenes but for the rest of the part he has done solid over acting. It is not like he is not capable of doing comedy but for that he needs the guidance of a better director. Emona Enabula is the only actor who looks real and acts convincing in the whole cast. He is a good casting choice. His expressions as the person who is confused about the chaos going around him looks believable. Ritabhari Chakraborty has very little to do as a performer. For most of the time she is there to fill up the frame only. Her character is half baked written with least care. Her transition from an under confident aspiring journalist to a popular journalist who is in demand has been depicted by giving a makeover to her physical appearance rather than focusing on the changes of her as a person, just like an advertisement of any cosmetic product. Good actors like Paran Bandopadhyay, Kharaj Mukherjee, Saswata Chatterjee, Kanchan Mullick have been wasted by making them doing loud comedy.
Overall Tiki Taka is okay as a one time watch but it could have been a much better comedy. Specially when someone from a Bengali background makes a film a football and its core emotions we really expect a lot from them rather than this caricaturish depiction.