Horror comedy is not a new set in Tollywood, but the challenge is, how that fine line between comedy and horror is drawn. This polarized genre which got together two completely different aspects has become one of my favourites recently. The beauty of this sort is to be completely frightened of something yet laugh at it in a jiffy. Undoubtedly the credit can be given to the director(s) for these bold attempts as it is not easy to sell this genre to audiences and critics alike. One such recent film in the horror-comedy genre that caught my attention is Taxiwaala.

the story of a man and his machine

Taxiwaala Plot: Shiva (Vijay Devarakonda) moves to the city after his graduation to fulfil his dreams but, when nothing goes his way he takes the help of his uncle, who runs a shop called ‘Uncle Care Cars.’ After a couple of dissatisfying attempts to find a perfect job that fits him, he decides on becoming a taxi driver and starts to hunt for a car. It is only during that process he gets hold of a vintage car. How this new addition in his life changes things for him is the main plot of the film.

the car with a character

There are quite many movies that came out termed under horror comedy but turned out to be outright bland when it came to comedy or horror. Among many attempts, only a few could make their mark, for example, let’s take Mechanic Mavayya for instance which started this trend way back in 2000. The movie primarily talks about how Senior Scientist Srivatsav (SPB) who invents a cost-effective petrol vehicle, `Bharat 2000` turns into a ghost and decides to take revenge on the people who killed him with the help of Raju (Rajasekhar), a car mechanic. Yet another supernatural horror comedy that impressed me is Anando Brahma which was released back in 2017 was also based on a revenge plot. Let’s not forget Prema Katha Chitram; the character artist’s performance in all these movies left me in splits while watching them. The reason being that, the film shines the most when the lead actor(s) play the character instead of playing the hero. Though all these beautiful movies gave me a scare and a burst of laughter, yet, I felt something else could be done to add to these plots. The secret element that was missing for me to feel the sense of juggling was Science!

So, when I saw Taxiwaala, which falls under a combination of genres such as Sci-Fi, horror and comedy, I could certainly feel the urge of the director to show something scientifically meaningful unlike other movies before, along with the base plot of revenge and finding answers. Rahul Sankrityan, who is the director of this flick has done a commendable job in drawing a fine line between trying to please and over please his audience. Taxiwaala, in contrary to other movies of a similar setup, is what we exactly need in terms of drama, comedy & horror. One cannot find even a delicate attempt to introduce melodrama into the film. The performances were quite to the point, especially of Vijay Devarakonda. Shiva aka Vijay swayed his way into the film with his charm and comic timing. For example, one cannot miss noticing the wit of Vijay Devarakonda when in an intimate scene he comments ‘They are watching us.’ (Wink)

It indeed takes a lot to present fear in a movie without the physical presence of images that have a ghost-like appearance. That’s when cinematography comes to effect as when done correctly it adds to the movie, and when it misses the beat, it can completely ruin the set of the film. The cinematography is one of the many technicalities that were aptly used in Taxiwaala. Using or creating ghost-like imagery or effects is quite common in many movies that have a horror stream to it, but on the contrary, I was intrigued to see how many scenes in Taxiwaala were shot to create the same impact of fear or cringe yet no physical aspect was used that is visible to the eye. One can feel that rush without any visual scenery added to the experience. Isn’t that interesting?

astral projection

Somehow Taxiwaala succeeded to stand out among other supernatural flicks as the director resorted to science and put in that extra effort to give a meaning to those supernatural elements rather than just turning them into a regular ghost movie scenes that just scares the audience. It is evident that there are a few gaps in the film; like in some instances where the story takes a sudden jump into another scene thus giving way to the gap. In spite of all that I can say that the storyline runs smoothly and weaves into your mind. Last but not the least, comic bits in-between standout among all and makes the film even more enjoyable. I particularly loved the part where the concept of Astral projections is used. If you want to know the concept was used in Taxiwaala, I would recommend you watch the movie now.

So, did you watch it already? What do you think about the horror-comedy and sci-fi genre in Telugu cinema?  I would love to know your views on it.