TARLA is the story of a woman’s extraordinary rise. Tarla (Huma S Qureshi) resides with her mother (Morli Patel), father (Kukul Tarmaster) and brother Rajni (Hardik Thakkar) in Pune. Her parents decide to get her married to Nalin Dalal (Sharib Hashmi), a Bombay-based engineer. Tarla, at first, is reluctant to get married as she wants to do something substantial in life. She, however, hasn’t figured out what exactly she wants to do. Tarla has a change of heart when Nalin assures her that the day she figures out her life plans, he’ll provide full support. Both get married. 12 years pass. Tarla and Nalin are now parents to Deepak (Manan Parmar), Sanju (Hridansh Parekh) and Renu (Aashriya Mishra). Tarla feels stifled being a homemaker and a parent. One day, she gets the shock of her life when she, a strict vegetarian, sees her husband savouring a non-veg dish. She decides to cook a veg version of it. Nalin loves it. Her neighbour Jayshree (Bharti Achrekar) asks Tarla to teach cooking to her daughter Kavya (Laxmi Rawat) before she gets married. Kavya uses her newly-learnt cooking skills to persuade her to-be in-laws to let her work after marriage. Soon, word spreads and several parents approach Tarla for cooking tuition. Nalin observes that this could be her calling. Tarla, hence, starts her own cooking classes. The residents of the building, however, object to the overcrowding of students in her flat and order her to stop the classes. This is when she hits the idea of publishing her cookbook. But this is a time when the idea of a cookery book is non-existent. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Piyush Gupta and Gautam Ved’s story is entertaining. Many are aware of Tarla Dalal but hardly anyone must be aware of her journey. Piyush Gupta and Gautam Ved’s screenplay is light for most parts and they try to depict her story in a fun and amusing manner. Piyush Gupta and Gautam Ved’s dialogues are very witty and sharp and also hilarious as required.
Piyush Gupta’s direction is splendid, especially considering this is his directorial debut. He was a part of DANGAL’s  writing team and moreover, TARLA is backed by Nitesh Tiwari, who had helmed the Aamir Khan-starrer. And the DANGAL flavour is definitely present even here in terms of narrative style and keeping things light. A song in the second half gives a déjà vu of the song ‘Hanikarak Bapu’ in DANGAL. This enhances the impact as a lot is happening in the film from start to finish. There’s a never dull moment and the director packs in a lot in 126 minutes. Besides providing entertainment, he also delivers the message effectively.
On the flipside, a few developments are not convincing. After a publisher declines to publish Tarla’s book, she and Nalin should have checked with other publishers too before deciding to go for self-publishing. Although well-intentioned, Nalin’s change in behaviour towards Tarla in the second half doesn’t come across smoothly.
Tarla: Official Trailer I Huma Qureshi, Sharib Hashmi | A ZEE5 Original Film
TARLA starts on a not-so-great note. The scene where Tarla feeds a spicy gajar halwa is too good. The best part of the first half is when Tarla catches Nalin consuming a non-veg dish. The treatment of this scene is sure to raise laughs. The same can be said for the montage which shows how Tarla’s class is in high demand. Kavya’s marriage scene is quite arresting and so is the sequence with the scrap dealer. In the second half, the conflict is intriguing. The last 10 minutes are moving.
Speaking of performances, Huma S Qureshi puts her best foot forward. She doesn’t go overboard with her body language or the Gujarati accent and plays the part just right. Sharib Hashmi is amazing as the ideal and supportive husband. This part required an actor of his caliber and he essays it with perfection. Bharti Achrekar is dependable. Manan Parmar, Hridansh Parekh and Aashriya Mishra are cute. Amarjeet Singh (Gafur bhai) leaves a huge mark. The same goes for Rajeev Pandey (Makrand; Nalin’s colleague). Akshat Dixit (Mahipal; Haryanvi chef) is quite funny. Laxmi Rawat, Akshara Kulkarni (Gangubai), Lokesh Mittal (Hiten Chenani; publisher), Veenah Nair (Renuka), Raghav Binani (Rajat) and Purnendu Bhattacharya (Paragon Textiles CEO) also do well.
The songs are okay. ‘Tina Nana Nina’ is very catchy. ‘Papa Why?’ is hilarious and is well-shot. ‘Rang Khilein’, ‘Yahi Toh Hai Zindagi’ and ‘Rahe Na Kyun’ fail to entice. Nilotpal Bora’s background score is in sync with the film’s mood.
Salu K Thomas’ cinematography is neat. Rakesh Yadav’s production design and Tasneem Khan’s costumes are straight out of the bygone era. Post Solutions’ VFX is fine. Gaurav Aggarwal’s editing is fair.
On the whole, TARLA is a delicious entertainer that has all the right ingredients – humour, emotions and conflict – in the correct proportions. Recommended!