10 Films To Watch If You Liked Tabbar (2021) on SonyLiv

10 Films Like Tabbar (2021) –  Currently streaming on SonyLiv, Tabbar, an eight-episode web series, is set in Punjab and depicts the plight of a family of four compelled by circumstances to unleash the beast within them. The narrative revolves around Omkar Singh (Pawan Malhotra), who runs a small grocery shop and lives with his caring wife Sargun (Supriya Pathak Kapur) and younger son Tegi (Sahil Mehta). Aspiring to be an IAS and studying in a coaching institute in Delhi is Omkar’s eldest son Harpreet ‘Happy’ Singh (Gagan Arora).

The series depicts how a seemingly happy middle-class family is faced with trouble when a careless error by Harpreet turns out to be a dreadful mess that brings misery into their lives. From now onwards danger and misfortune will be planted in unexpected corners and their acts will push them to extremes and returning back to normal life will be impossible.

The narrative explores the theme of how the family will leave no stone unturned and cross the limits of morality to keep his wife and children away from harm and being punished by the law. The plot of the series surprises us with twists that are unpredictable and raises the bar of our participation.

Here are ten films to watch if have liked Tabbar:

Life Is Beautiful (1997)

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It might be arguable to include Roberto Benigni’s comic war drama Life Is Beautiful to begin the list with. But on close observation, the film highlights the relentless effort by a father Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni) to keep his innocent son Giosuè Orefice (Giorgio Cantarini) away from the horrors of World War II. Hence, this is a perfect film that fits with the theme of a father’s tireless effort to protect his son. Instead of adopting a dark tone, the filmmaker had consciously decided to make the film in a light-hearted manner so that it could deliver the message of hope and prosperity in contrast to the destructive consequences of war.

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The film narrates the tale of a polite Jewish-Italian waiter, Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni) who meets a pretty schoolteacher Dora (Nicoletta Braschia) and both of them develop a mutual bonding towards one another. They get married and give birth to Giosue. But as fate would have it Guido and Giosue get separated from Dora as both of them are taken to a concentration camp. Now Guido takes the responsibility to protect his son from the adverse situation. He convinces Giosue with a fictitious plan that their imprisonment in the camp is part of a game.

The film won the Grand Jury at the Cannes Film Festival. It also earned six nominations at the Academy Awards, winning in three categories- Best Actor, Best Original Dramatic Score, and Best Foreign Language Film.

Three Monkey (2008)

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The Turkish auteur, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, who had carved a niche for his cinematic flair globally as a contemporary master of the ‘ennui of existence’, enters into the terrain of crime and murder. But rather than following the conventional genre trope, Ceylan’s treatment is a slow burn investigation into the human mind and charts their vulnerability.

As the film begins, Servet (Ercan Kesal), a potential politician running for election, gets embroiled in a hit-and-run accident. He lures his driver Eyüp (Yavuz Bingöl) to take the blame upon him. Eyüp accepts the offer and agrees to undergo imprisonment. Eyüp is seized with the conviction that his decision will make the life of his wife Hacer (Hatice Aslan) and his son İsmail (Ahmet Rıfat Şungar) better. But things do not turn out as expected. İsmail befriends some wrong people and Servet manipulates Hacer. Once Eyüp is released from prison his relationship with his wife gets strained and the situation spirals out of his grasp.

From the beginning till the end, Eyüp is always concerned about the welfare of his family. A committed husband and a caring father, he is there to protect the family from adverse circumstances. As the film ends he asks an economically weak man to take the blame for a crime, so that the members of his family can lead a safe and secure life. At the Cannes Film Festival, Ceylan won the award for Best Director.

Mother (2009)

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In Bong Joon-Ho’s Mother the responsibility to protect the family, in this case, a dim-witted son Yoon Do-Joon (Won Bin), is bestowed upon the shoulders of a single unnamed widowed mother (Kim Hye-Ja). Residing in a small South Korean town, she earns her living by selling medicinal herbs and also carries out illegal acupuncture treatments. On a fateful night, Do-Joon gets involved with a high school girl and the next day the girl is found murdered. Do-Joon becomes a prime suspect and a police investigation begins. Now the Mother is left with no other option and has to devise ways to exonerate his son from a crime, which she firmly believes is committed by someone else.

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The mother who at the beginning of the film appears to be a simple and harmless person undergoes a seismic change in her attitude by the end of the film. Kim Hye-Ja’s character is layered with traits of a loving mother revealing shades of love, hate, and anxiety. She plays the role of a helpless and desperate woman with tremendous sensitivity, which makes her presence in the film memorable. Mother had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section and went on to win numerous awards at various film festivals around the world.

Drishyam (2013)

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In Jeethu Joseph’s Drishyam, veteran Indian actor Mohanlal has immortalized the character of Georgekutty, a resolute individual who will utilize all his skills to divert a calamity that could tear apart his family. Drishyam is full of twists and turns that keeps the viewers on the edge of their seat. The conflict of the narrative arises from the primary characters positioned at different rungs of society. On one side we have a middle-class citizen who manages a cable-TV service, saving her daughter and on the other side, we have an Inspector General of Police, trying to locate her missing son.

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The films begin with a flashback and the first half is utilized to introduce the viewers to the family of the protagonist. But as soon as the unfortunate incident happens, the pace of the film is accelerated. Georgekutty has learned all the methods of efficiently hiding the pieces of evidence skillfully from his years of experience of watching feature films. Thus, his profession is skillfully weaved into the narrative.
Loosely inspired by the Japanese novel ‘The Devotion of Suspect X’, written by Keigo Higashino, Drishyam has so far been remade six times into including Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi, Sinhala, and Chinese language. However, Drishyam 2 fails to live up to the expectation that has been built up from its predecessor.

Child’s Pose (2013)

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In Calin Peter Netzer’s Child’s Pose, every character is caught up within the vortex of helplessness. This slow-paced drama is not about good versus evil, but about people from various strata of Romanian society in a struggle for survival. The theme of the film raises the question that to what degree are we prepared to set aside our moral qualms to indulge in the misuse of our power?

When her son Barbu (Bogdan Dumitrache) is incriminated in a hit and run accident, the matriarch Cornelia Keneres (Luminita Gheorghiu) will go to any unethical extent to keep him out of jail, despite the knowledge that she is saving a culpable person. Cornelia takes undue advantage of her position in society so that she can hold her family together. But in reality, she wants to have complete control over various members of her family. In the process, both the mother and son enter into a series of bargains without even realizing what they’ll lose until it’s too late to make a simple exit.

Gheorghiu’s performance as a mother caught in the vortex of love for her son and her esteemed position as an architect in society brings compassion and warmth to her role. Child’s Pose won the Golden Bear and FIPRESCI prize in Berlin and was Romania’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar

We Monsters (2015)

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In Sebastian Ko’s German crime drama, We Monsters, Sarah (Janina Fautz) a teenage girl accidentally kills her friend while on her way to a summer camp with her father Paul (Mehdi Nebbou), who is recently separated from his ex-wife Christine (Ulrike C. Tscharre). Both of them decide to cover up the heinous crime and keep their daughter off the hook.

We Monsters is a compelling film that addresses a parent’s worst fear and keeps the attention of the viewers hooked to the film with several expositions that gives the viewers a thrilling experience. The filmmaker understands how audiences respond to the suspense on-screen; he heightens our pleasure by toying with and living up to our expectations. The moral weight of hiding the truth by the two parents puts on display how desperate situations can degrade individuals into becoming morally corrupt citizens. In this exploration of the dark aspects of human nature, Sebastian Ko’s takes a disturbing look at how depictions of violence at once reflect and shape our culture.

We Monsters had its premiere at Germany’s Max Ophuls Festival and was also screened at Toronto International Film Festival. It was remade into an English film The Lie (2018) by Veena Sud is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. But it could not live up to the expectations of the original.

The Oath (2016)

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In The Oath, actor turned director Baltasar Kormákur plays the role of a Reykjavik surgeon named Finnur whose eldest daughter, Anna (Hera Hilmar) develops a strong relationship with boyfriend Óttar (Gísli Örn Garðarsson), a drug dealer. Finnur tries to keep Óttar away from his daughter as he thinks that his influences will cast an evil shadow on Anna’s life. But Óttar proves to be shrewd and vicious and sends an intimate video of Anna to Finnur. Unable to control the advancement of Óttar, the helpless father devises a plan that proves to be detrimental.

Kormákur and his co-writer tactfully craft a sensitive theme that dwells upon an incident, which raises issues of social responsibility and personal awareness and asks the viewers if a cold-blooded crimeless is justifiable than one committed in the heat of the moment? The film at times threatens to lose momentum with some easy turn of events. But Kormákur holds it all together with his strong performance and shuffles with the moods and tones and genres that manipulate our sympathies. The background score of the film is composed by the Academy Award-winning musician Hildur Guðnadóttir and helps in developing the conflict of the inner and outer landscape in a haunting manner.

Graduation (2016)

In Cristian Mungiu’s Graduation, a middle-aged physician living in Transylvanian, Romeo Aldea (Adrian Titieni), finds himself in the horns of a dilemma when his daughter his Eliza Aldea (Maria Drăguș) assaulted and her ambitions are jeopardized. Romeo must now figure out solutions that would avoid ruining her daughter’s career. The film showcases that the problems involved with guilt are extremely complicated. But still, one is compelled to live with it and the consequences.

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Mungiu keeps the tension rising throughout the film by weaving his plot in such a way that it delivers a domino effect. The identity of the perpetrator is never revealed throughout the film. Due to the assault, Eliza had to wear a cast on her hand and she will be having difficulty writing her exam, which means that she will lose the opportunity to study in the reputed Cambridge University. Romeo then seeks the advice of his friend working in the police to look for alternative ways for securing the future of his daughter. But as Romeo proceeds forward he is pulled into a labyrinth that questions his moral point of view. At the Cannes film festival, Mungiu shared the Best Director Award with Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper.

Good Time (2017)

Joshua and Ben Safdie’s Good Time is the tale of two brothers who are driven by circumstance to maneuver into the world of crime. When a botched-up bank robbery puts Nikolas (Benny Safdie) behind the bars, his elder brother Constantine (Robert Pattinson) will go through any extent even risking his own life to amend the situation. The story of the film seems on the surface to be about desperate measures adopted by two individuals but ends up being a racy drama depicting the bonding between two dependable souls.

With a great sense of guerilla-filmmaking, the film builds its universe, finding its pacing, so consistently, to tell its particular story. The engaging narrative form is dealt with precision and economy, which helps the film to elevate the observations of the desperate moments in human behavior, and brings it into the poetic domain. The narrative lures the spectator to participate in the pleasures of storytelling through the pulsating determination of the protagonist.

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The handheld camera operation by Sean Price Williams captures the feel of the background, setting, atmosphere of the subject and makes use of striking visuals to communicate the theme. Daniel Lopatin won the best composer’s award at the Cannes Film Festival for highlighting the cultural conflicts and personal anguish in the story.

Listen (2020)

Ana Rocha de Sousa’s debut Listen, is a tale of survival of the fittest. The courageous spirit displayed by an immigrant couple from Portugal to achieve the custody of their children is both uplifting and heart-wrenching. Set in the suburbs of London, the deafness of their seven years old daughters creates a major crisis in their lives as the social services intervene and take custody of the child. The filmmaker has used the medium of cinema for one of its most crucial purposes: to shine a light on injustices he sees all around him, as well as on our capacity for human decency.

Listen has a daring and understated approach in creating a mood of constant tension that provides an insight into multi-layered power dynamics of gender, class, and authority. The narrative takes us to places where we have never been, brings to light the characters that want and need to be seen, expanding the language of cinema. We believe that Ana Rocha will inspire a future audience to be more humane and reflect on the gruesome experiences that the immigrants undergo. At the Venice film festival, Ana Rocha won the Orizzonti Special Jury Prize and the Lion of the Future Award for a Debut Film.

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Tabbar (2021) Links: IMDb
Dipankar Sarkar

Dipankar Sarkar is a freelance writer on various topics related to cinema. His articles have appeared in Scroll, The Hindu, Livemint, The Quint, The Tribune, Chandigarh, Upperstall, and vaguevisages.com amongst others.