Sarvesh Mewara’s Tejas starring Kangana Ranaut strives to tell a story of courage, sacrifice and patriotism but falls flat with its lacklustre storyline and underwhelming action sequences.
The plot revolves around the Indian Air Force Officer Tejas Gill played by Kangana Ranaut. Tejas has dreamed of becoming a fighter pilot and serving her nation since she was a little girl. Fiercely patriotic and brave, Tejas sets out on a high-risk assignment to rescue an Indian spy taken hostage by a terrorist organisation in Pakistan.
Through aptly spaced flashbacks Mewara gradually unravels Tejas’ personal tragedy to contextualise her determination and rage. Even so, the plot feels thin and devoid of any real complexity.
The marker of any strong action film is a compelling antagonist, for the hero is only as good as the villain. The terrorists of Tejas are one-dimensional -- weak and unrealistically foolish. Thus, needless to say, they are easily defeated by the protagonist.
It's not just the villains who meekly wither away in Tejas’ aura. In an effort to keep the spotlight on Kangana, the rest of the characters exist solely in the margins with very little impact on the plot. Unfortunately for the film, it is when Tejas is in the company of the other characters—her father, friends and love interest— that she seems the most nuanced.
To her credit, Kangana puts on a fairly convincing performance, often let down by the tepid storytelling. Anshul Chauhan who plays the co-piolet is a breath of fresh air amidst the blaring background score and hollow, booming one-liners. There is no lack of swagger as well as themes of women empowerment when Tejas and her co-pilot Afiya lead the rescue mission and emerge successful. However, overall Tejas ends up being all style and no real substance.
Tejas is most disappointing towards the end. The fight sequence in the air defies all logic and the visual effects looked poorly done. Each time a threat arises, it is put down by Tejas without her even breaking a sweat.
The film tries to tackle too many issues all at once — from stopping suicide bombers at the Ram Mandir to rescuing hostages in Pakistan and counter-attacking a terrorist base.
For a film that seeks to evoke goosebumps and appeal to patriotic sentiments, Tejas fails to tug at the heartstrings. The dialogues are hollow and often bear no resemblance to how people actually speak. The high stakes do not feel convincing and the adversities never appear insurmountable. The underwhelming action sequences do very little to salvage the film.
Director: Sarvesh Mewara
Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Anshul Chauhan, Varun Mitra