Tanaav review: It keeps you on the edge of your seat while dabbling in two sides of a coin to tell the story of Kashmir

Sakshi Sharma
New Update

Tanaav review: A remake of the Israeli show Fauda, Tanaav, set in Kashmir, shines a new light on the complicated matters of the place and its people.

Kashmir - as beautiful as that land is, its story has been just as troubling and complicated since forever. There are many stories written about Kashmir, each representing either those that fight for Kashmir's freedom or the ones seeking it. But that is where Sudhir Mishra's Tanaav differs. It doesn't focus on one side, instead, it represents both neck to neck with each other with the best effort for neutrality. And it's not that two different ideologies fight with each other, but it's loyalty toward ideologies that get into a war and create a mess in which everyone gets entangled.

This series is a remake of one of the groundbreaking Israeli series on Netflix, Fauda where an undercover operation in turn talks about the Israel-Palestine conflict. But where Fauda dealt with the war between two different countries, Tanaav sticks to the conflict of Kashmir where according to government intelligence, a known terrorist, Umar Riyaz (Sumit Kaul), who everyone thought was dead, is apparently alive, and because of this Kabir (Manav Vij), a retired officer is brought back to the field. The chase to capture and kill him so that he isn't able to operate on his plans forms the basic plot of the story.

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Those who have watched Fauda will automatically compare, and they will find a lot of similarities. But those who haven't seen it will find it engaging from the get-go, even though sometimes the series seems to be a little weak. The intention of the series is clear from the start; it doesn't want to go in-depth into the ideologies of the two sides, the radicals, and the defense. It just wants to show the people of each side without any bias and the length that they can go to for their loyalty. And while there is a war going on, there is bound to be collateral damage.

The show is a fast-paced action-packed thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat with the way it ends each episode, but the emotional connection to anyone is amiss. Both sides are playing on the same field, and a moral ground is missing as both have their own defined versions of justice. And while this unique take acts as an asset for Tanaav, no clearly defined exploration of ideologies makes you question their loyalties. It's as if the series is saying that you figure out in-depth who these militants are and why with every generation, they're so hell-bent to set Kashmir free from Hindustan, and how the different types of government groups actually working in Kashmir like Special Task Forces just want to show two sides.

Written by Ishan Trivedi and Sudhir Mishra who is also the series director with co-director Sachin Mamta Krishn makes sure that there is no hero or anti-hero in this story, just people with their beliefs up to only a limit. Because even when Kabir does not hold the morals up to the bar, he still is the hero acting immorally only for protecting the country, while Umar and his team are not extended the same belief system. Though the aching vulnerability of the innocent Kashmiris (a young girl who lost her love gets ready to plant a bomb) and the women at the behest of men (whether an STF or a militant's wife or a simple doctor) get a heartbreaking yet apt depiction of carrying the burden of their men's ambition or just simply entangled in the mess that is Kashmir.

The series made by Applause Entertainment in association with Applause Productions has to be applauded for its breath of fresh air to a Kashmir narrative that often chooses a perspective to show and for the involvement of many Kashmiri actors with a mix of languages that is spoken there, from Dogri to Urdu to Punjabi to Kashmiri, as well as for shooting in Kashmir during a lockdown. The cast sometimes works and sometimes doesn't really fit. Manav Vij will remind you of Sunny Deol at many points especially when he shouts. The scene-stealers are definitely Sumit Kaul with Shashank Arora and Ekta Kaul. Rajat Kapoor is also well-befitting though Arbaaz Khan and his team don't entirely work for me as they could not give me that Task Force team feel. Though many new entrants show quite a credibility, especially women who play Zainab and Fatima.

But the larger question is when we keep our heroes and villains on the same scale of balance, is that called representing two sides of a coin or does that only give a defense to our heroes that sometimes an immoral way is the only way? And if not then it's all the more important to deep dive into the cause of the militancy as well as why they choose this, even the youngsters, and if the measuring scale is the same then who gets to be right and who is wrong? But for now, Tanaav gives out a very important message that no matter on which side you fight the war, it only causes destruction, and where does blind faith following lead you?

Tanaav is made up of twelve episodes, from which only six episodes have come out on SonyLIV. Every Friday a new episode releasing is a definite watch. And with the way the show ends, it definitely paves the way for a second season which gives hope that maybe some of the lost arcs will be tied in those.

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