Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Taniya Sahni
Ravi Jadhav’s web series, “Taali,” unfolds across six episodes on JioCinema, delving into the real-life journey of Shreegauri Sawant, a transgender activist. She played a pivotal role as one of the petitioners for the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), leading to the Supreme Court’s recognition of a third gender in a historic decision in 2014.
The narrative begins with Ganesh (portrayed by Krutika Deo) struggling with his identity as a male child in his parents’ home. He faces criticism for his aspirations, clothing choices, and his talent for dance. Ganesh’s father attempts to “correct” these aspects following the untimely death of his mother, while his sister (played by Hemangi Kavi) offers unwavering support throughout his life.
Sushmita Sen’s portrayal of Shreegauri, from her teenage years onward, is nothing short of remarkable. Her acting, makeup, and costume design all deserve a perfect score. Sen’s performance excels in depicting the complexity of a male-to-female transition, particularly the awkwardness and challenges associated with it.
However, the series falls short in fully exploring Shreegauri’s internal struggles. It misses an opportunity to juxtapose her inner turmoil with her strong and determined on-screen persona. While glimpses of this struggle are present, such as confrontations with a hospital dean over the mistreatment of a deceased transgender individual, internal challenges within the transgender community, and assisting another transgender person in filing a police report, more screen time and depth could have been dedicated to Shreegauri’s personal journey.
The series touches on the physical pain associated with a sex change operation but overlooks the deep psychological impact it can have. A more profound exploration of Gauri’s struggles, as well as those of the transgender community, would have enriched the narrative. Taali, while relevant, shies away from delving deeply into the subject matter.
In conclusion, is Taali a realistic and nuanced portrayal? Perhaps not entirely. However, it remains heartwarming and offers a decent viewing experience. A story of such significance deserves a more comprehensive treatment, but Taali still manages to captivate its audience.