Truth is stranger than fiction, and that truism can sometimes become the fulcrum of a film. ‘Miss Tanakpur Haazir Ho’ hangs itself on a preposterous peg : can a buffalo be, err, to put it delicately, sexually assaulted by a human?
There’s a great deal of potential in Vinod Kapri’s debut feature. Because stranger things have happened, especially in the Khap-ridden region that ‘Tanakpur’ inhabits. But the promise, held out in a brassy, colorful beginning, is marred by the execution.
The film opens with a rustic ‘mela’, attended by Tanakpur’s `sarpanch’ ( Kapoor) and his hangers-on, which include the kohl-eyed dimwit played by Kissen. The elderly `sarpanch’s much younger wife ( Bhatt) is getting it on secretly with a `gaon-ka-chhora’ ( Bagga). When they are rumbled, all hell breaks loose. The young Lothario is strung up and accused of ‘badsalooki’ with Miss Tanakpur, the prize-winning buffalo belonging to the ‘sarpanch’.
It’s not the crudeness and crassness that is the problem, though there is much too much of it. It is not being able to make the satire bite. Om Puri plays a strangely crimson-hair-dyed corrupt cop, who’s happy to grab the ‘victim’ because of the plentiful of milk she gives. He is loud. So is everyone else. Bhatt, back in a lead role after a long gap, is made to deliver a sniffly speech which equates her status with a ‘buffalo-tied-to-a-`khoonti’.
This could have been a sharp black comedy with a strong sense of place , mining its superb absurdist premise : at one point, you are actually gifted the real meaning of that hoary expression ‘gayi bhains paani mein’. That is laugh-out-loud funny. You wish the rest of it was the same.