Pataakha Movie Review: A Stretched Fable

Vishal Bhardwaj, whose last film Rangoon had failed at the box-office, is back with Pataakha, a film adaptation of a short story titled ‘Do Behnein’ by Charan Singh Pathik. But will this film manage to undo the damage done by the ‘Rangoon’ debacle?

Set in Rajasthan, ‘Pataakha’ revolves around a pair of sisters (Sanya Malhotra and Radhika Madan), who can’t stand the sight of each other ever since they were kids, much to the dismay of their widower father (Vijay Raaz) and much to the glee of their childhood pal Dipper (Sunil Grover), who enjoys his role as an agent provocateur. When the two sisters fall in love with and end up marrying a pair of brothers, they realize that the only way to get rid of each other is by provoking enmity between the two brothers they are married to… Does the plan work or do the sisters end up burying the hatchet? Sanya Malhotra, who shot to fame with Dangal and Radhika Madan, who is making her Bollywood debut with this film, have put in a solid performance as have Sunil Grover, Vijay Raaz, Namit Das and the others.

However, as far as the plot goes, ‘Pataakha’ is at best a fable that has been stretched for more than an hour. The narrative in the first is whatever has been shown in the trailer so you can imagine how much the plot has been stressed. As for the second half, ‘Pataakha’ goes on and on and the film seems more about gimmicks than substance.

Also, the fact that the reason behind the sibling rivalry is never revealed prevents you from feeling any kind of empathy for any of the characters and the viewer is left merely amused at the silly fights that the two protagonists kept having. A film works only if the viewer feels something in his heart for the characters in the film and ‘Pataakha’ fails miserably in this department. Also, the climax scene where the sisters finally bury the hatchet is so weak that you will end up wondering why they hated each other’s guts for so many decades when it was this easy to bury the hatchet… In conclusion, if you are a Vishal Bhardwaj fan, please stick to his Shakespeare trilogy.