Heads and Tales  ‘Zee5’ Review: An Average Tale of a confused addressal of a Serious subject
There was a nonchalant cool style in the way Zee5’s latest, Heads and Tales starts. We are introduced to God; yes, the God, the creator of the universe et al. Only the God here is depicted more as a screenwriter of our lives. He sort of brags to his mortal interviewer; and tells how one story, written by him, could affect the lives of three women. Thus, the film delves into its actual story. Admittedly, it was pretty slick. It is exactly the sort of establishing scene that grabs viewers’ attention immediately.
However, as the film progresses, writer Sandeep Raj and director Sai Krishna Enreddy could not really replicate similar creativity down the line. The story we were given premonition about is simple, and relevant one might say. Alivelu Manga (Divya Sripada), Anisha (Sri Vidya), and Shruthi (Chandini Rao) are the three women of our story. The commonality in their stories would seem to be the casual misogyny and the downright sexist hostility they had encountered and probably would continue to encounter.
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Anisha is an actress, looked down and abused by her actor betrothed. Manga is a police constable, tackling both economic plight and her husband’s offhanded behavior. Shruthi’s situation seemed to be better at the beginning, but as the story moves ahead, we get to have a glimpse of her ordeal as well. Toxic males in their lives, this seemed to be the underlying thread that ties these three women’s stories.
Now, as a topic to talk about, rampant masculinity and feminism construct an ocean of a subject. So, it is not expected that a film, barely crossing 90 minutes in length, would be able to address a vast majority of its aspects. But, it is expected that the film would treat the subject with deference, especially as it is trying to champion the cause of feminism; and this is where writer Sandeep Raj fails. It seemed the film is torn between two approaches: a comedic take where the downtrodden women find solace in each other’s company, and a relatively serious dramatic take addressing the abusive behaviors of men in their lives.
When Anisha is threatened by her fiancé with an acid attack, it does seem a tad flippant to quickly dive towards a comedic tone when she reaches the police station to lodge a report. It is understandable that Sandeep Raj and director Enreddy try to establish a chemistry between Anisha and Manga, the police constable, with some playful banter. Their tete-a-tete does move the film forward and is a major part of the film. But the casual approach towards such vicious threats leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
The light-heartedness in the film betrays the essence of the content of the film. Serious social issues like domestic violence and acid attacks ask for a certain level of gravity while incorporating them in a story. If you are to make a comedy where these issues play a major role, the commitment needs to be there then, taking the film towards the dark comedy zone. But, Heads and Tales is not a dark comedy. It seemed to be a drama, with a touch of comedy; and that is why the frivolity in handling such issues would be glaringly noticeable.
Also, the character and arc of Shruthi are heavily undercooked. There were hints of some sort of abuse that she faced, however that remains mostly unexplored. Shruthi’s arc primarily addresses the slut-shaming that society often resorts to when anything out of the ordinary happens with a woman. But, the film fails to allow the proper time and story to actually accommodate that. This arc particularly seems to be added to the film as an afterthought.
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Sri Vidya and Divya Sripada get the majority of screen time, and their performances were apt, to say the least. Both were sincere in their respective ordeals and do bond well as their characters were meant to. As mentioned above, Chandini Rao as Shruthi gets the least amount of importance among the supposedly three leads; she is decent in the limited scope. The supporting male cast does their job well in portraying their problematic nature.
Heads and Tales ends with the intent of returning for a sequel. It however needs to commit to the bold filmmaking that it promises to show at the beginning. It would need to delve deeper into its topic and not just barely scratch the surface. Otherwise, the result would once again be just about average.