Tejas

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Tejas (2023 Film)

Tejas, an action-packed thriller film released in 2023, unfolds a gripping narrative in the Indian Hindi-language domain. Penned and directed by Sarvesh Mewara, the film is a brainchild of the prolific producer Ronnie Screwvala. Kangana Ranaut takes center stage as the lead character, supported by the talents of Anshul Chauhan and Varun Mitra.

Upon its release on October 27, 2023, Tejas encountered a wave of critical disapproval, marking it as one of Hindi cinema’s major box-office disappointments within the initial two days. The negative reviews led to the abrupt cancellation of numerous theatrical screenings on its opening day. Despite this setback, the film’s fate took a turn when it found a second life on the streaming platform ZEE5, making its digital debut on January 5, 2024.

The storyline revolves around Tejas Gill, an Indian Air Force pilot embarking on a high-stakes mission to rescue a fellow countryman who possesses highly classified information. As Tejas navigates through this perilous mission, the film artfully intertwines elements of suspense and action, unveiling a character haunted by a tragic past and lingering memories. Tejas, beyond its initial setbacks, showcases a fusion of intense storytelling and powerful performances, making it a noteworthy entry in the cinematic landscape.

Tejas (2023 Film)

Directed  Sarvesh Mevara
Written Sarvesh Mevara
Produced 

Ronnie Screwvala

Cinematography Hari K. Vedantam
Edited  Aarif Sheikh
Music   Shashwat Sachdev
Production
RSVP Movies
Release 27 October 2023
Budget

₹70
 (2024-01-05)

Time
112 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi

Summary

Indian Air Force pilot Tejas Gill embarks on a critical mission to extract an Indian spy holding highly classified information. Amidst the perilous operation, Tejas confronts the challenges of her own haunting memories from a tragic past. Drawing from the expertise of the indigenously developed Tejas aircraft, she navigates the skies with precision and determination.

Tejas, the light combat aircraft developed by India, symbolizes the nation’s technological prowess and self-reliance in the field of aviation. As Tejas Gill maneuvers through the mission, her connection to the aircraft becomes emblematic of India’s commitment to innovation and defense capabilities. The narrative unfolds as a testament to the prowess of both the pilot and the cutting-edge technology represented by Tejas, reinforcing the synergy between human skill and technological advancement in safeguarding national security.

Actors / Cast

  • Kangana Ranaut as IAF officer Tejas Gill
  • Anshul Chauhan as Aafia
  • Varun Mitra as Ekveer
  • Ashish Vidyarthi as IAF chief R K Panicker
  • Vishak Nair as Prashant
  • Kashyap Shangari as Vivek
  • Sunit Tandon as Academy Teacher
  • Rio Kapadia as RAW Chief
  • Mohan Agashe as Prime Minister
  • Mushtaq Kak as Khatooni
  • Lovlesh Khaneja as Pakistani Pilot

Promotion

The film “Tejas,” produced on a budget of ₹70 crore (US$8.8 million), has garnered attention for various reasons. It received endorsements from political figures such as Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath and Uttarakhand’s CM Pushkar Singh Dhami, both affiliated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). They expressed support on October 31, 2023, after viewing the film in Lucknow alongside Kangana Ranaut.

Ranaut, the lead actress, stated that Yogi Adityanath assured protection for the film against adversaries and anti-national elements. She emphasized his commitment to motivating nationalists to engage with the movie. However, her involvement in political promotion faced criticism, with accusations of leveraging politics to influence viewership.

Additionally, during the 2023 Hamas-Israel conflict, Ranaut visited the Israeli Embassy to promote the film, a move that stirred further criticism. Despite these controversies, “Tejas” has had a mixed financial performance. Made on a budget of ₹70 crore, it grossed ₹4.93 crore (US$620,000) in India and ₹0.67 crore (US$84,000) overseas, totaling ₹5.6 crore (US$700,000) worldwide. Notably, the film was deemed one of Hindi Cinema’s significant box-office disappointments in both domestic and overseas markets within the initial two days of its release. The production timeline indicates that principal photography began in August 2021, concluding with the wrap-up of production in November 2021.

Critical Response

The film Tejas faced a barrage of negative critiques from various quarters. On Rotten Tomatoes, the aggregate score stands at a mere 11%, based on a paltry 9 reviews, with an average rating of 3/10, signaling a lackluster reception. Saibal Chatterjee, a critic from NDTV, bestowed a meager 1 out of 5 rating, lamenting, “Tejas is a cinematic venture that encounters turbulence from the outset and never navigates its way out. This air combat thriller is disappointingly whimsical.” Chatterjee’s scathing review underscores the film’s struggle to establish a compelling narrative.

Contrastingly, Dhaval Roy from The Times of India, while awarding a moderate 3 out of 5 stars, noted the film’s abrupt sequences and yearned for a more coherent screenplay. Nevertheless, Roy acknowledged the thrill that accompanies the main rescue operation and lauded Kangana Ranaut for seamlessly transitioning between action and emotional scenes. He pointed out, “Ranaut’s performance shines, portraying action as effortlessly as emotional moments unfold.”

Samarth Goyal of Hindustan Times delivered a more nuanced opinion, describing Tejas as a film that “takes you on a rollercoaster ride through the skies and geopolitics.” While acknowledging the film’s initial disorder, Goyal commended its recovery in the second half, maintaining a tone that avoids descending into jingoism. Lachmi Deb Roy of Firstpost, rating the film 3 out of 5 stars, appreciated Ranaut’s performance and found the second half intriguing, although pointing out a lack of depth in the research aspect.

On the flip side, Anuj Kumar, writing for The Hindu, characterized Tejas as a “sloppy follow-up” that fails both as an action film and in sustaining emotional engagement. Zinia Bandyopadhyaye of India Today granted the film a modest 2 out of 5 stars, labeling it a bumpy ride fraught with jarring inconsistencies. Filmfare remarked that while Tejas attempts to champion the inclusion of women in combat roles, its half-baked nature dilutes the impact of its message. Shubhra Gupta criticized the film for a series of eye-roll moments but acknowledged Ranaut’s acting prowess that shines even in the weakest scenes. In a review by Jansatta, the film was criticized for lacking a coherent plot and attempting to thrive on nationalist sentiments, indicating a broader dissatisfaction with its thematic execution.

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