Rating: 6/10 (Fun Ride)
Cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Priyanka Jawalkar, Malavika Nair, Madhunandhan, Vishnu, Ravi Verma, Chammak Chandra
Story-Direction: Rahul Sankrityan
Screenplay- Dialogues: Saikumar Reddy
Banner: UV Creations and GA2 Arts
After tasting a minor setback in the form of NOTA, Vijay Deverakonda is back with his latest offering Taxiwaala. After constant postponements and the movie being leaked online before it's release, it's finally seeing the light of day. Can the film live up-to the hype and deliver a fun film as the trailer promised?
Plot: A jobless graduate named Shiva (Vijay Deverakonda) gets a job as a Taxi driver but the car he chooses ends up being possessed by something. What is the car possessed by and what is the flashback behind it? Watch the movie to find out
Performances: Vijay Deverakonda, now riding on the current wave of huge stardom, is the biggest asset to the movie. His performance is good and his popularity is a boon for the film. His styling is excellent and his screen presence is magnificent.
Priyanka Jalwakar does well in her debut. It's nice to see a local Telugu girl getting a chance in movies again.
Madhunandhan as Babai is funny and provides good laughs. Vishnu as Hollywood steals the show. He is hilarious and will make you laugh from start to finish.
Malavika Nair gets a crucial role and does very well. Chammak Chandra gets a nice role and does his classic comedic antics towards the pre-climax. Lastly, the ever reliable Ravi Verma gets a good role as a scientist which is again crucial for the films main plot.
Direction: Rahul Sankrityan in his debut does a fine job. He takes the classic Telugu horror comedy template and gives it a new twist. The concept of astral projection is highly intriguing and is the films focal point. The explanation and Ravi Verma's character are an integral part. The car being possessed and the way it is shown and explained in the flashback is very well done. The film starts off in a typical way with something bad happening and the story slowly makes it's way. Not to say the film is without it's problems, but nonetheless makes for an entertaining watch. He has successfully used Vijay Deverakonda's new found stardom and popularity to good use and makes an entertaining supernatural thriller for the most part.
Technicalities: Music and BGM by Jakes Bejoy is fantastic. The background scores for comedy scenes or suspense scenes is awesome and spine-chilling at the same time. On screen, Maate Vindahuga is fabulous to watch. Cinematography by Sujith Sarang is beautiful. The film is shot in two contrasting moods, night and day and the lighting patterns selected are superb. The film looks rich and vibrant throughout. Editing by Srijith Sarang is alright. Art direction for the garage set is excellent. Dialogues by Saikumar Reddy are fun in parts and well written. Costumes need a special mention as Vijay Deverakonda has never looked this stylish in any of his previous films. Full marks to the stylists in this movie. Production Values by Geetha Arts and UV Creations are grand. Even though the film isn't the biggest or most flamboyant, the money and quality behind it are amazing.
+ Vijay Deverakonda
+ Music and BGM
Final Take and Analysis: When Taxiwaala was announced for a May release after Arjun Reddy, many were excited as it was the next release for Vijay Deverakonda after the path breaking film. But almost 6 months later, the film got postponed, had post production issues and in the process, some douchebag leaked the entire unedited film on the internet and the entire edited cut onto the internet as well. It's incredible how negativity and sabotage a film can overcome and be successful and Taxiwaala does just that. To put it simply, Taxiwaaala is a fun and engaging film for the most part.
The film starts off in typical horror fashion with something bad happening. We have seen people and animals being possessed but never a car which is what provides some sort of freshness in the plot. While the first half is still fun, there is really no story as it only builds the tension and suspense for the mystery behind the car. Thankfully once the 2nd half starts, everything becomes clear. Malavika Nair does a fantastic job and the movie revolves around her. The flashback is well done and some hilarious pre climax sequences follow. The sentimental scenes however, seem too melodramatic especially in the climax which is unbearably dragged to no extent. The conclusion as well is very weird and might make you think for a second as to what actually just transpired.
Nonetheless, the film is still engaging enough despite these flaws due to Vijay Deverakonda's presence and star power. He alone makes the film worth a watch.
Overall, Taxiwaala makes for a fun ride. Vijay Deverakonda's peformance, good music and background score, some hilarious comedy, and a solid flashback and interesting concept make this supernatural thriller a recommended watch.