There's enough realism in the script or at least in its loud inspiration to watch this comedy drama that speaks volumes about the backward mindset in rural India.
Arjun (Rahul Bagga) is a loafer who is falling in love with Maya (Hrishitaa Bhatt), a young and beautiful woman married to the foul- mouthed, sexagenarian village chief, Sualaal (Annu Kapoor). Maya seeks shelter from Arjun and silently finds happiness in him, owing to Sualaal's inability to be a proper husband, with poor performance in bed and verbal as well as physical abuse. Naturally, when one day, Sualaal finds out about Arjun's illicit relation with his wife, he beats him up and publicly accuses him of raping his award-winning buffalo, named, for FIR purposes, Miss Tanakpur.
The story is as wicked as it sounds, which the writers have credited to real-life happenings in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. How a backward system with enough corruption mixed into it treats its men based on ruthless bias is the central topic of the film. In rural areas like the one shown in the film, the powerful continuously oppress the powerless, even leading to countless fatalities, in some cases. Arjun's family has to go through a harrowing time once he is arrested: his sister's marriage is disavowed, his father tries to kill himself, and his mother slowly moves to the path of atheism. It is startling to watch the story, told in a rather clumsy way, unfold in front of your eyes when you know that something like this has happened, or at least, has the merit to happen in today's world.
There is enough humor for an average Indian to perceive here. But, the B-grade shade the film has in its dialogues and slapstick may turn few off. People's blind faith on idol worshiping, graft among policemen, the judicial system - there's everything in here. Some very interesting sequences are gelled together to ignite emotions, driven by powerful performance by Kapoor. Sanjai Mishra and Om Puri are mostly seen fooling around. Bagga should brush up his blunt areas, and it was good to see Bhatt after a long time. Ravi Kishan as Sualaal's slavish helper is typecast.
I had been stalling this watch for quite a long time, but it eventually proved worthwhile. A good afternoon watch.
BOTTOM LINE: Vinod Kapri's "Miss Tanakpur Hazir Ho" is not a laugh riot, but it proves a point and chafes on the harsher realities of rural India through a comic container. Rent a DVD.
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES