Netflix's Taj Mahal 1989, written and directed by Pushpendra Nath Misra, brings home big wins from award shows 2021.
Taj Mahal 1989 is a simple and effective attempt at storytelling that satisfies the target audience. The basic storyline is easy to follow and captures the spirit of 'old school' Lucknow quite well. The plot's impact is magnified by some deft writing.
Co-produced by Tipping Point productions and Flying Saucer, the series is set in Lucknow and Agra in 1989 when ‘bae’ was a term of familiarity suffixed to sentences, like Da/di or machan in Tamil. Perhaps a happier time pre Babri Masjid when people didn’t analyse an interreligious marriage, when we kids drank Rasna, our parents drank Old Monk, everyone bought cakes with roses from local bakeries, and wrote letters and love notes instead of sending WhatsApp forwards.
Debutant writer-director Pushpendra Nath Misra announces a flair for not just creating complex and layered characters, but breathing life into them. Lucknow is portrayed beautifully. There is some real love in his attention to detail. The show handles its nostalgic theme well without throwing it in your face — you are treated to a little bit of Karamchand and Kitty here, a Rasna ad thrown in there. Someone sells B-tex on a bus, and you are reminded of the good old days when a quarter of Old Monk cost just Rs.15.
Pushpendra Nath Misra and the team of Taj Mahal 1989 have let the story brew and created characters that are layered, relatable, flawed but in love and it does not necessarily have to be the one-line definition for everyone. The writing deserves the complete credit for edging out each character with traits in mind. I can go on about them for ages.
Set at a time when Karamchand was on cable and B-Tex was on the billboards, Taj Mahal 1989 is a quietly effective little series from Netflix, about themes as evergreen as the majestic monument it is named after.