A heroic entry on a motorbike driving through hills, a song in the background, a joint being rolled and a few closeup shots of a rugged man. Before we see Ahan Shetty’s face on screen, we see his punch breaking the door, making a debut in style. Launching a starkid isn’t a simple affair, and that’s why there has been much anticipation and expectations from Tadap. It marks Suniel Shetty’s son Ahan’s acting debut. A remake of the 2018 Telugu film, RX 100, which was based on a real incident, Milan Luthria’s directorial Tadap serves you raw action laced with heavyweight dialogues, old-school romance, passion, deceit, bloodshed and a few poetic lines to add a tinge of humour.

On the onset, Tadap looks like a conventional love story set in Mussoorie, between a man with limited means Ishaana (Ahan), who falls in love with a rich girl Ramisha (Tara Sutaria). She is forcefully married to a London businessman by her politician father (played by Kumud Mishra). But, there’s a lot more to the story than what meets the eye.

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Ahan Shetty and his character arch leaves a long impression. As a young, angry action hero, he makes an intense and impressive debut. With a strong screen presence, he owns every frame from the very first scene. Luthria makes it very clear with the very first action sequence that the main intention behind Tadap is to give Ahan ample space and an open canvas to play with and show his acting prowess. There’s rage, aggression, violence, passion, love, betrayal and all sorts of emotions that his character portrays. There clearly is no restraint when it comes to to letting Ahan channelise his strength. His dialogue delivery, however, definitely leaves room for improvement. And it won’t be wrong to say that in a couple of scenes, he gives you strong flashes of his father.

Paired opposite Ahan in Tadap is Tara Sutaria, who looks gorgeous onscreen in scenes of romance or heartbreak. They share a sizzling and intense chemistry. Tara’s character could have had been afforded more depth and dimension to make it more convincing to watch. Saurabh Shukla, who the entire town refers to as Daddy, is charming and lends a strong support to the script, playing Ahan’s father figure.

The first half of the film takes its own sweet time to build the narrative with some sluggish flashback sequences. The second half, however, picks up pace without delving on unimportant matters. The plot unfolds with twists and turns unraveling at a rocket-speed, and with each scene you are drawn more towards the characters and their stories.

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After this intriguing and captivating build-up, I really expected the climax to hit it out of the park but it left me rather disappointed. It seems incomplete, half-hearted and just not in sync with the narrative. Based on what happened in Siva’s life (whose life the original story is based on), writer Rajat Arora (who has also written the screenplay and dialogues) chose to stick to exactly that and not take any creative liberty, whatsoever. Had he thought through the plot and come up with a better and more satisfying climax, Tadap could have been a sure shot winner. In fact, seeing Luthria and Arora stick to some really stale cliches and tropes made me wonder why they didn’t even bother to improvise. In all honesty, the whole storyline was predictable to the core.

Tadap’s background score, Pritam’s music and Irshad Kamil’s lyrics aren’t something you’d easily forget. Tumse Bhi Zyada can easily become the new love anthem while Tu Mera Ho Gaya Hai is a beautiful hummable romantic track. Hoye Ishq Na turns out to be the perfect heartbreak song and Tere Siva Jag Mein stays with you for its peppy tune.

A true-blue commercial potboiler and having no qualms about it, Tadap, to a large extent, satisfies the cinema goer inside you and at the same time, leaves you asking for more. With convincing performances, bearable storyline and most importantly a promising debut by Ahan, it’s surely worth a watch.

Tadap
Director: Milan Luthria
Cast: Ahan Shetty, Tara Sutaria