OTTplay Logo
settings icon
profile icon

Tatsama Tadbhava review: Meghana Raj Sarja and Prajwal Devaraj shine in this psychological thriller

Meghana Raj makes a strong comeback as the film's protagonist, with Prajwal Devaraj complementing that perfectly as a shrewd police officer

Tatsama Tadbhava review: Meghana Raj Sarja and Prajwal Devaraj shine in this psychological thriller
Prajwal Devaraj & Meghana Raj Sarja in Tatsama Tadbhava

Last Updated: 05.02 PM, Sep 13, 2023


Story: When Arika (Meghan Raj Sarja) reports her husband Sanjay (uncredited role) missing, it doesn’t take long for investigating officer Aravind Ashwatthama to figure that something is amiss in the tale that she’s spun. And when Sanjay is then ‘found’ in the basement of their home, Aravind pieces the mystery together, but he’s still missing something. Can he get to the bottom of it or is this web of deceit too tangled for him to decipher?

Review: When the trailer of filmmaker Pannaga Bharana’s debut production Tatsama Tadbhava came out, it grabbed eyeballs for two major reasons. For starters, it was the first time that Meghana Raj Sarja had faced the camera for a movie since her maternity break, during which she also tragically lost the love of her life, Chiranjeevi Sarja. What was also notable was just how refreshingly different the characterization of Prajwal Devaraj’s Aravind Ashwatthama was. Here he was, playing a cop and not spouting bombastic punch lines or landing a well-placed punch or two. Between them, Meghana and Prajwal hold debutant director Vishal Atreya’s script together and present a decently riveting thriller.


Vishal’s narrative, split across five chapters, explores the case of a missing person, which soon enough becomes a murder investigation. The missing person, Sanjay, is never shown - not even a photograph. Yes, there is an actor who gets a few back shots, but we are not shown the artiste who had the job of remaining faceless. Sanjay, according to his wife Arika, had stormed out of the house after a row with her, shortly after which she had also taken off in a fit of rage. By her account, upon returning, she finds the main door unlocked and assumes that Sanjay had come back and was somewhere near home. But when she doesn’t find him hours later, she decides to report him missing and then begins the real story, which becomes more about Arika than Sanjay, as she goes from being the worried wife to being the prime suspect.

Meghana Raj Sarja is the central axis of the narrative that the rest of the ensemble revolves around, but there is no denying that Prajwal is one of the bright stars of Tatsama Tadbhava, with what can only be called his most restrained, yet powerful role to date. The actor is a revelation as the smart cop, with a keen eye for detail, with never a word or action that is over-the-top. Tatsama Tadbhava is being called Meghana’s comeback, but it is just as much for Prajwal too. It’s a pity we don’t get to see this side of the actor more often. Except in a few sequences as a young Arika, Meghana is tailor-made for the role. The actress gives Arika the right amount of vulnerability and gravitas.

Prajwal Devaraj in a still from the film
Prajwal Devaraj in a still from the film

Tatsama Tadbhava is an intelligent film, one that gets the audience to subconsciously play cop and tag along with Aravind Ashwatthama to crack the mystery. It’s the kind of film that gets you to put on your thinking cap. But therein lies the problem. If you’ve seen enough content in the genre, you will get an idea of the plot twists and how it will turn out. For instance, I thought that Vishal’s story appears to bear some resemblance to the recent Tom Holland-led web series The Crowded Room, which was based on the book The Minds of Billy Milligan, while the play on a particular date, May 22, seemed reminiscent of the emphasis of establishing a false timeline as was in Drishyam.

Verdict: Tatsama Tadbhava is the kind of film that requires rapt attention from start-to-finish; every word, every movement, even the slightest flick of a finger, tells a tale. It helps that the film is just a tad over 2 hours in run-time and does not have any unnecessary frills. If psychological thrillers are right up your alley, this one’s a good watch, but more importantly, do so for Prajwal.

Get the latest updates in your inbox