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Anurag Kashyap’s Dobaaraa a time and space defying gem. Watch for Taapsee Pannu

It’s hard to say if Dobaaraa will survive this season of Bollywood boycotts, but its sure to find a shelf life of its own on streaming platforms.

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Thriller, mystery drama, supernatural fiction, or temporal paradox — after a 135-minute run, I am still struggling to box Taapsee Pannu’s Dobaaraa under a genre. But that is, perhaps, an advantage for this second collaboration between Pannu and director Anurag Kashyap. It is a palatable blend of all these elements.

Dobaaraa is a refreshing break from Pannu’s back-to-back portrayals of personalities and characters rooted in the world of sports. Here, she dives into Kashyap’s world of twists and turns. Though I was able to solve the jigsaw puzzle few minutes into the second half, the thoroughly engaging plot kept me hooked.

Remake or not, Dobaara keeps you hooked

Kashyap, who has been vocal about his disdain for remakes, clarified that Dobaaraa is not one. “When Sunir Khetarpal (one of the producers) had reached out to Spanish director Oriol Paulo to buy the rights to make Badla (2019), Paulo was working on the script of Durante la Tormenta (2018). Khetarpal bought the script rights much before the Spanish film was made,” he clarified, during the latest interview with film critic Baradwaj Rangan of Galatta Plus. Kashyap asserted that Nihit Bhave began adapting the script for the screen around the same time the original film was being shot. “It is like taking a story and adapting it.”

The story revolves around Antara (Taapsee Pannu) who is based in Hinjewadi, Pune, and ricochets between 1996 and 2021. In 1996, a 12-year-old boy Anay (Arrian Sawant) dies in a road accident soon after he witnesses a murder next door.

Twenty-five years later, Antara moves into the same house as Anay’s and interacts with him through an old TV set at ‘do barah’ (twelve minutes past two; 2:12). In a strange turn of events, she saves Anay’s life and ends up in another world. From thereon begins a chain of mysterious events with Antara trying to figure out how to get back to the life she knew. To help her through the puzzle, DCP Chandan (Pavail Gulati) pops up conveniently wherever she goes. Beside Antara and Anay, the only common thing between those two events is a thunderous, stormy night—a powerful character in itself.

Call it whatever, Kashyap’s adaptation is not as perfect as his previous directorial ventures but has enough heft of its own. Despite his strong opinion on remakes and adaptations, Kashyap has delivered a prototype of how to recreate a story with its distinctive voice. Bhave’s screenplay is inconsistent but the pace of the film makes those bumps on the way look minuscule.


Also read: Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha is a solid Forrest Gump remake, retaining its best and worst elements


The realm of Taapsee Pannu

But in the larger scheme of things, any minor flaw appears irrelevant because of Pannu’s thunderous performance. She is building her realm, one film at a time. Most of her biggest hits have her playing a pivotal role and are helmed by either first-time or young filmmakers. Her portrayal of Antara is peppered with just the right tempo of varied emotions. Gulati, who acted with Pannu in Anubhav Sinha’s Thappad (2020), does his job well. Among other supporting characters, Rahul Bhat as Antara’s husband is a delight to watch when thrown into circumstantial comedy.

It’s hard to say if the film will get its due in a ‘season of Bollywood boycotts.’ Kashyap, afterall, happened to be trending on Twitter after his latest interview with Rangan.But given its engaging plot, I am certain that it will find a shelf life of its own on streaming platforms.

From Savi’s trippy world in Looop Lapeta (2022) to Antara’s complex universe in Dobaaraa, it’s Pannu’s cinematic kingdom, and we are just living in it.

(Edited by Zoya Bhatti)

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Thriller, mystery drama, supernatural fiction, or temporal paradox — after a 135-minute run, I am still struggling to box Taapsee Pannu’s Dobaaraa under a genre. But that is, perhaps, an advantage for this second collaboration between Pannu and director Anurag Kashyap. It is a palatable blend of all...Anurag Kashyap’s Dobaaraa a time and space defying gem. Watch for Taapsee Pannu