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Tejas Movie Review: Kangana Ranaut’s film is high on nationalism and shoddy special effects – News


The little attention given to the supporting cast is another complaint.

By Lekha Menon

Published: Friday, October 27, 2023, 7:52 p.m.

If in doubt, cut it out. In journalism, this aphorism has saved many sub-editors from making embarrassing mistakes when editing articles. In Kangana Ranaut’s high-octane air force thriller, Roof tilesdirected by Sarvesh Mewara, this editorial maxim is revamped to become “When in doubt, think of the nation.”

In the realm of military action, thinking about the nation one would assume means making risky but practical decisions at the last moment, spending months investigating enemy movements, making brilliant plans, and saving lives. In Roof tiles, however, means having crazy ideas and performing optical illusions that would put a true illusionist to shame. But anything works and anything goes because… when in doubt, resort to nationalism and good Bollywood-style one-liners (more on this later).

Roof tiles It is Tejas Gill (Kangana Ranaut), a wing commander in the Indian Air Force, who is described as a “freak” by a senior. Frankly, there is nothing strange about Roof tiles except for a fantastic ability to convince her superiors to let her play with airplanes and send her on deadly missions simply by declaring her passion. As a student, she answers a question about Roof tiles, the Indian-built light fighter aircraft, and her trainer is impressed enough to let her fly a bad machine. Years later, she is integrated into a rescue operation after similarly persuading her elders with her determination and patriotism. Is it so easy to lead a mission in the air force? Well, experts can answer that question.

The mission, in this case, is to rescue an Indian agent from terrorists in Pakistan. He is held captive by a light-eyed, hooded, accented evil man who threatens to decapitate him. Clearly, the inspiration is the murder of American journalist James Foley, whose murder at the hands of Daesh shocked the world in 2014. The Pakistanis not only want the blood of an Indian soldier, they also want the destruction of India and all Indians. So we have the head of a terrorist organization shouting his intentions to kill, cause mayhem and bomb the Ayodhya temple (which hasn’t been built yet, so one wonders what the timeline of the movie is!) . Of course, Tejas, a soldier of The ‘New India’ won’t let him, driven as she is by fierce patriotism and a personal vendetta against terrorists after losing her family in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

She flies, with a fellow fighter jet pilot, into the deserts of Pakistan to kill all the terrorists, rescue the agent, and ensure that India is not bombed. Does she manage it? No prizes for guessing!

War and action movies, especially those about high-risk rescue missions, are about two things: mind-blowing visuals and nail-biting suspense. It’s what makes us willing to suspend our disbelief and support soldiers as they carry out daring and impossible acts. For an audience that has been spoiled by the visual effects of Top Gun Maverick and the ingenuity and daring of argo (the inspirations for these two films are evident in Roof tiles), the shoddy special effects and simplistic ideas are inexcusable. The background music is moving, but the fighter jet action scenes almost have a video game effect. The overdose of slow-motion walks of the protagonists does not compensate for the lack of real emotions, nor do some lectures on gender equality.

Secondly, for a film that also delves into the motivation and mind of a soldier, there is a notable lack of depth. In a tense moment, when the captive agent gives up, saying that he no longer has the energy to run, Tejas and his fellow soldier narrate a two-line poem about love for the nation that he had written years before. It’s enough to get the agent excited and reinvigorated again. Yes, just like that. Needless to say, the nuances or complexities of international geopolitics are also completely missing. Even terrorist action movies need strong antagonists, but here they are nothing more than weak cardboard caricatures, easily defeated by the conquerors. Roof tiles.

The little attention given to the supporting cast is another complaint. Father, boyfriend, friend, superior (the latter played by resident warlord Ashish Vidhyarthi)… they are all there to serve the cause of Tejas Gill, who dominates every frame of the film.

What works for the film is the pacing. At just under 2 hours, it doesn’t have a single dull moment and the credit also goes to Kangana Ranaut for owning the screen space. She’s as convincing as ever in her action and dramatic scenes, but is that enough?

Kangana has given everything to Tejas, but unfortunately, Wing Commander Tejas is not Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell.


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