‘Patna Shuklla’: Raveena Tandon Film Champions a Feisty Woman’s Fight against the High and Mighty

By Shubhra Gupta

Small-town women taking on the high and mighty is a familiar theme, but one that can always do with a refresh, because what’s not to like about feisty ladies? Just last month, we had Bhumi Pednekar’s brave reporter revealing the true face of a gang that preyed upon helpless girls in a Muzaffarpur shelter. Now it’s Raveena Tandon, playing a Patna lawyer who goes after a powerful politician’s son, for his misdeeds.

It’s been six years, and Tanvi (Raveena Tandon) is still waiting for that case which will give her a chance to show her mettle. When college student Rinki Kumar (Anushka Kaushik) turns up at her makeshift ‘chamber’ and claims that she couldn’t have failed her exams, that there’s something fishy about her low marks, Tanvi gets that once-in-a-lifetime-chance to prove that she is not just a good wife and mother, but a smart legal brain too.

It’s the kind of film where we know the outcome, so predictability doesn’t come in the way of noting a few nice touches: Manav Vij playing the kind of supportive (in a few places, coming off a tad too supportive to be true) spouse that any woman would be lucky to have. When the bad guys target him, he doesn’t blame her; he is proud of her abilities and fully backs her activities. There’s also a segment which highlights the misuse of the bulldozer: if you go against the powers that be, your home will be demolished — a sharp comment on current happenings.

It’s good to see the late Satish Kaushik, here playing an upright judge with a light-hearted touch, a role colonised by Saurabh Shuklla in the LLB films: he hates being ‘tokoed’ from behind, is happy to accompany chirpy wife (Mukherjee in a cameo) on sabzi-buying expeditions, and happier to make sure justice being served.

The mark-sheet switch, the crooks behind it, and the rampant corruption in educational institutions (Vihar University, in the film) keeps you engaged enough, even if the story-telling itself bobs along evenly, without too many surprises. Chandan Roy Sanyal as the lawyer on the other side, and Jatin Goswami as the minister’s entitled scion do their jobs. As does the earnest Tandon, working at the accent and the look. A climactic rigmarole mars it, but Patna Shuklla is still one of those you can watch simply because you want to see good women win.

Cast: Raveena Tandon, Satish Kaushik, Anushka Kaushik, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Manav Vij, Jatin Goswami, Sushmita Mukherjee
Director: Vivek Budakoti
Rating: 2 stars

— Indian Express