Tara vs Bilal review
Tara Vs. Bilal unpeeling its many layers

Tara Vs. Bilal is a sweet little love story. A Bollywood film with all the masala and still so refreshingly different. It features a beautiful damsel in distress and a good looking hero who bashes up the bad guy. It’s an age old formula that never fails to capture die-hard Bollywood romancers.

The film features a popular hero. An adequate display of skin. A raunchy item number, and a smattering of sexual innuendos  There is  even the side story with nerdy underdogs. But look beyond the formulaic outline and what you discover is a multi-layered story. One that entertains and gently nudges the audience towards a gentler and more non-judgmental, non-compartmentalised way of thinking.

For those of you who have yet to see Tara Vs. Bilal, there are no spoilers here. Just a not so subtle message to see it on Netflix. And for those of you who have already seen it, I suggest another look. To appreciate this very nuanced story that is so relevant to the times we live in.

The heroine is a gorgeous Kashmiri girl who actually lives in Delhi (displaced Kashmiri pandits). The hero is a muslim (Khan) living in London. The film also features a beer guzzling grand mother and a bunch of middle-aged Muslim women who are not confined to burkas/hijabs. Actually, they are a fiesty bunch completely disinclined to sitting at home being virtuous.

This close knit group of single women, each with their own quirks have lost their men for one reason or the other. But that doesn’t mean they live a life of drudgery and suffering. In fact, their single-minded quest to find Bilal a suitable wife seems to suggest they have ample spare time to plot and plan.

And what do I say about our typical macho hero? He has a six pack abs and a bike that zooms through the British countryside? Added to that, Bilal has a vulnerable and sensitive side. He accepts his gay friend for what he is. Unabashedly gay and in love with a glamorous transgender dancer. No judgements here. Just a refreshingly casual acceptance. It’s as though the writer just needed to get on with her charming story…without getting overly sidelined by minor issues that take up so much newsprint real estate nowadays.

For an entire generation of Indians brought up on over-acted histrionics and narratives that bleed every emotional drop out of trivial or important issues, this was a welcome change. This film is not an emotionally charged Garam Hawa, nor is it a heart wrenching Arth. It’s an elegantly told story that will hopefully give audiences the much required cue on how to behave when encountering similar circumstances.


Here is a link to one of the songs in the film: