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Tabbar Review


The story is about survival, and there are no breezy moments when you are striving to survive.

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A middle class family is happily living in a busy locality in Punjab. One fine day a shuffle in bags brings an undesirable guest in their house and misfortune gets him killed. Their world turns upside down because the blood is on their hands. What will man do to save his world from falling and to make his Tabbar live a long time is the story. To start with, let us appreciate new age filmmakers their sensibility and strive for authenticity that we’ve now left behind the stereotype sarson ke khet Punjab, and looking at the real, raw and in part brutal reality of the land.

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Thanks to flag bearer Abhishek Chaubey with his Udta Punjab, that also receives a passing mention in Tabbar. Coming to the show, a family can be depicted in lots of ways. At the latest times, shows have tapped into the importance and drama amid families on lots of occasions. Occasionally the conflict is emotional, societal and about love. What if one of the members of the family kill a stranger to save his family? Tabbar means family. And the show is about a guy putting his family above everything and save them from the world. It’s kind of Drishyam, but 10 shades darker.

Writer Harman Wadala, who’s also the creator with Sandeep Jain and Mr. Roy writes a story about a family that in their worst nightmare never thought of hurting another human. But one day their existence is put to test and begins the adventure for survival. Call it a family drama, thriller or survival drama, Tabbar successfully falls into all subgenres. I’m trying too hard to not spoil the show for you. Appreciate me! Tabbar on the surface level is about murder and a family trying hard to save themselves from getting killed, or falling into the hands of the law.

But deep down, the writers with director Ajit Pal Singh talk about tons of things. The drug menace in Punjab, the youth that consumes it, the misunderstood pop culture and the rage to win the world. Obviously, the play of power and the corrupt system is on exhibition too. In this mess, the attention is always on the family. The father hatches plans after plans to not get caught. He kills people and phases fake scenarios. But while all this is wrong, his intention is to not let his innocents children and his wife suffers brutal deaths. What wins in the writing is the attention given to consequences. Every action is either wrong or right, depending upon the perspective. If wrong, you have to face the consequences, and every character in Tabbar who does wrong faces it at some point. Even those you think are the most innocent.

Helping this story elevate is Ajit Pal Singh’s direction that speaks to his viewers. He creates frames that indulge you into the set-up. By the end you know where every drop of blood fell, or how a landscape works. DOP Arun Kumar Pandey creates a high amount of tension with his camera. He just lets you see what’s sufficient to realize that particular scene, giving you a claustrophobic feel, same as his characters. Look for its frames when it goes wide and capture the essence of the landscape and the emptiness of the family universe. Sneha Khanwalkar adds more depth and scaring intrigue with her haunting music supported by Rekha Bharadwaj and Daler Mehndi’s magical vocals.

Tabbar Review: Star Performance

Pavan Malhotra plays the father Omkar, a character from which the full show branches out from. He’s a big liability and tough shoes to fill. The actor who comes along with vast experience manages to become a character that’s as complex as Omkar. Supriya Pathak with all her finesse supports him and adds the perfect emotional flavour to the show. Both of them together in the last frame will haunt you for sometime at least. Gagan Arora as the elder son Happy is perfect and brings what’s necessary to the table. Sahil Mehta as Tegi is a quiet player. He’s a complex character that creates conflict in the back ground and he does that skilfully.

My heart in Tabbar however, belongs to Paramveer Chima who embodies Lucky. He plays a cop who was made to things against his will at job and even at home. He’s innocence naivety intact whilst the rage to prove himself burns in him. The actor manages to hook viewers to him so well, that his absence is felt. In addition, I stumbled upon her Instagram and the man has a voice. Brownie points.

Tabbar Review: What Doesn’t Work

Nothing so important that you’ll think of not watching Tabbar. Nupur Nagpal, plays Palak who’s dragged into a love triangle. While her conflict gets highlighted again and again till the sixth episode, the conclusion forgets her.

Supriya Pathak is a seasoned actor and even in Tabbar manages to put the best foot forward. But her accent turns out to be a roadblock quite a few times. And once most of the cast are in fact Punjabi, a non Punjabi talking in some different tone if easily spottable. Backstories of the characters are hinted at, but never enough to have a layer that added to the already seasoned screenplay. More emphasis might have added more nuance.

Tabbar Review: Last WordsDo not go in anticipating any light hearted moments, Tabbar is as dark as it gets. The story is about survival, and there are no windy times when you’re striving to survive. Get in it and be ready to come put heartbroken.

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