Directed by Biplab Das/ Reviewed by Biplab das
Tandoori tells the story of Kamal who collects rotten meat from dumping grounds. Kamal is a member of the rotten meat racket gang that supplies rotten meat to the top restaurants in Kolkata. The gang lord remains in the background, projecting Kamal as the dead meat collector. Kamal meets Jonaki, a beautiful destitute, and plans to have a future with her. She influences Kamal to leave the criminal world. Their togetherness makes Bisha, Kamal’s partner jealous and vengeful. Kamal tries to end the ties with the racket but ended up in more complex problems.
As a social commentary, Tandoori may not able to make a dent cinematically. However, it records the rotten meat scandal that rocked Kolkata a few years ago. The film started on an encouraging note, that a film is made on the rotten meat scandal, but the same old and overused approach of showing the protagonist as innocent somehow derailed the story. The genre-wise it’s not well stitched, to be honest.
However, the film will attract the psyche of Kolkatans who are aware of the incident. The rotten meat scandal rocked the West Bengal government. People in Kolkata were fearful and skeptical about the type of meat they were consuming at restaurants during that period. The scandal certainly raised questions on the responsibilities of restaurant owners. The government also took corrective measures to curb the issue.
Written and directed by Biplab Das, Tandoori seems tasteless to some extent. Biplab is a known name in the independent film circuit. However, the performances of the actors catch the attention. The relationship between Kamal and Jonaki looked a bit stuffy. Romance or sexual tension was missing. The rest actors were all good but the dialogues were very stereotypical.
Tandoori lacks the bite in the story that has different events stitched together. It fails to catch attention. Based on the meat scandal of 2018, Tandoori tries to instill multiple stories into one. It’s hard to decode what the director had in mind while making the movie. The film tries to address multiple issues such as the meat scandal, love, the crime world, and the police system. The relationship between Kamal and Jonaki is not explained explicitly in the movie. The director tried to show Kamal as a victim whose life changes with the entry of a woman. This formula has been used multiple times and needs introspection. The dirty operation of the meat racketeering gang would have given an extra angle to the film.
After gaining attention in the media, the rotten meat scandal deserves a documentary. Nonetheless, I hope this film will reach the right audience. I would rate Tandoori two stars out of five. As a subject, Tandoori is a good attempt, but storytelling lacks the punch and a bit clichéd too. The film drifted from the rotten meat scandal to the lives of poor people living in slums. We’ve seen multiple movies on people living in slums highlighting their frustrations and tragedies.