Dr Khusi Pattanayak
Tatsama Tadbhava (Kannada, 2023) is not something that one has not seen / heard / read before. Or one that a whodunit fan cannot anticipate. But credits to Vishal Atreya (director, writer) for offering a suspense mystery that revolves around the familiar zone and yet continuously springs surprises ensuring one is invested in the film.
The movie starts off with Arika (Meghana Raj) lodging a missing complaint about her husband. As the investigation unfolds, the missing case turns into murder case and, Arika emerges as the prime suspect in the murder of her husband. The rest of the film focuses on figuring out Arika’s involvement in the murder (if at all) and the motive behind the murder.
The screenplay is divided into five segments, each offering a newer insight and complexity to the case. The title Tatsama Tadbhava has Sanskrit origin meaning ‘similar to that’ and ‘derived from that;’ a very symbolic and apt title that echoes the essence of the narrative. The investigative officer is named Aravind Ashwatthama (Prajwal Devaraj), another allegorical reference, who seems to find solace and solution through the art and craft of cooking.
There are some déjà vu moments that reminds one of Kahaani (2012), Breathe: Into the Shadows (2020), Drishyam (2015). But fortunately, they are like passing showers and do not have direct impact on the screenplay.
Tatsama Tadbhava does a great job when it comes to casting the right actors. Since the film is not an over-the-top cop movie or a super intense mystery drama but more of a psychological journey, it required certain amount of subtlety. And the actors ensured that they did not drift away from the mood and feel of the movie. Meghana Raj at the helm of this thriller is impressive in her multi-layered role.
The dialogues are interesting and contribute significantly to the development of plot and characters; like the conversation between the cops and the domestic help. It brings audience the much necessary chuckles while giving insightful details about Arika’s household and her relationship with her husband. The mother-daughter catharsis is primarily dialogue-driven and remains playful in its allusion, (verbal) illusion and elusiveness.
Vasuki Vaibhav’s music is soothing and “Doori Laali” (sung by Sunidhi Ganesh) is delightfully melodious. Editing is one of the key strengths of Tatsama Tadbhava; in absence of which it could have been a very average affair.
Tatsama Tadbhavadespite having an inconsistent direction and an average storyline still makes for good one time watch because of its clever script which incorporates some interesting twists every now and then.
Tatsama Tadbhava is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
(The author is an internationally published writer & corporate communication specialist. Views are personal)