A Hindi drama directed by Ajit Singh and written by M. Salim, Wah Taj tells the story of a Marathi farmer who comes to Agra with his family and makes a bold claim on the land where the world famous Taj Mahal stands. What ensues is a legal battle between him and the state government to decide the validity of his claim. It sounds like a promising premise, but some films are hopeless right from the very onset. Wah Taj, unfortunately, falls squarely into this category.
In my opinion, a monumental failure like Wah Taj happens when a filmmaker fails to realize his or her limitations. It is usually not because of a lack of vision that cinematic disasters like Wah Taj take place but because of misguided overconfidence.
Wah Taj may ultimately work for the greater good, standing as a perfect example of how not to make a movie.
Let's try to understand this in detail. Here is a film which attempts to be a political thriller, courtroom drama, satirical comedy, social commentary and revenge drama, all at the same time. The very idea itself sounds quite daring but how can one even hope to realize such a vision when one can't even get the dubbing right?
The quality of the filmmaking is so poor in Wah Taj that let aside a motion picture one would find it really hard to even qualify it as a television film. The film demonstrates us how a decent bunch of actors (the movie stars Shreyas Talpade, Hemant Pandey, and Manjari Fadnis in major roles) can be let down by poor writing and overambitious direction.
So, yes, the film is terrible, and the only admiration I can muster up for it is that it is not so easy to make a film as bad as this one. For a film to fail so comprehensively and perfectly, everything has to go wrong and the creative team certainly manages to make that happen. In fact, Wah Taj may ultimately work for the greater good, standing as a perfect example of how not to make a movie. So, unless you are a filmmaker wanting to go through a painful instruction, you'd do well to steer clear of this film.
A version of this review was first published in A Potpourri of Vestiges.