Director: Rahul Sankrityan
Cast: Vijay Devarakonda, Malavika Nair, Priyanka Jawalkar
A machine takes its male model-esque driver out for a bit of revenge in Taxiwaala. The film, about a possessed car, is a year or so late in catching on to the horror film trend; nevertheless, it makes valiant attempts at staying relevant.
The film largely accomplishes this by prioritising the relationship between Vijay Deverakonda’s Shiva and a beauty of a Contessa masquerading as a taxi. In certain car-lover circles, such a thing would be considered sacrilegious. But for Shiva, a poor academic and an even poorer follower of rules, this option is the only way to make a living.
Much of the film bears the stylised editing and visuals of a techno music video. Deverakonda is a perfect foil for Sujith Sarang’s camera that lovingly focuses on him, his coiffed hair and perfectly tailored clothing. If this were real life, his car would be a dusty Indica. And he would be wearing a yellowed old white outfit. But in cinema-land, taxi drivers look like Deverakonda, they drive Contessa, and wear leather jackets, even though Hyderabad is certainly not the place for it.
However, these issues become minor once the horror element seeps in. Director Rahul Sankrityan seeks to balance the film’s supernatural elements by turning to science and religion for answers. Astral projection is the keyword here, where a Bhagavad Geetha verse about the soul represents the religious point of view.
Deverakonda is an affable presence onscreen. But even his star status takes the backseat when Malavika Nair begins to make her presence felt. Her story, like that of Vijay Sethupathi in Imaikkaa Nodigal, is the beating heart of Taxiwaala.
Since this film comes out at the possible tail end of a horror film trend, there are quite a lot of similarities. Dora and Pisasu come to mind more often than not while watching the film, but it is to Sankrityan’s credit that Taxiwaala does not, in any way, seem stale. There are a few engaging moments – Deverakonda’s relationship with a young doctor, his friend – Vishnu, and an entire exorcism scene that makes Taxiwala an entertaining watch.
But ultimately, the film and its director are unsure of the place it belongs to. For a while in the beginning, it’s a story of an underdog. Then a ghost comes in. And finally, there’s a bit of a revenge theme added to the proceedings. These tonal shifts in the plot make Taxiwaala seem like two different films, despite the best efforts of editor Sreejith Sarang.
That said, the stunning climax scene more than makes up for the film’s flaws. It makes Taxiwaala not about the taxi or the driver, but about a young woman gone too soon from this world.
The Taxiwala review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.