The Comical Epic Fail of India’s ‘Taarzan: The Wonder Car’ Movie
To successfully launch a new car, you need to garner a lot of attention and interest, especially if it’s a model that’s outside of most people’s price range. What better way to generate hype than to introduce the vehicle as the headlining star of its own cinematic adventure?
Unless you make it a romantic revenge thriller that borrows heavily from Stephen King’s Christine.
That’s exactly what the 2004 Hindi-language film Taarzan: The Wonder Car did. No wonder it’s become known as one of India’s biggest flops. Not only was the film panned by critics and failed at the box office–its bad press caused the car it was launching to be buried.
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Remembering the Hilarious Mishap of Taarzan
Taarzan: The Wonder Car was directed by brothers Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla. The film followed the duo’s success on other thrillers, such as Solider, Humraaz, and Baadshah.
The plot involves a car designer (Ajay Devgan) who gets his idea for a revolutionary vehicle (called DC, his initials) stolen by a leading automobile company. The executives, conspiring with the police, have the designer murdered so they can steal his idea. They bind the designer and lock him in his own car–this one being an older car called Taarzan–which they dump into the water to drown him.
We can tell you’re already dying to know what happens next.
Twelve years go by, and the designer’s son (Vatsal Sheth) discovers his dad’s car Taarzan in a junkyard. He obtains the vehicle and, with some help from his love interest (Ayesha Takia), turns it into a “wonder car.” The son renames the car DC in honor of his father. Little does the son know, but his dead father’s soul still inhabits the vehicle!
One spooky night, the spirit of the dead designer takes control of the car, which goes out and seeks revenge on those who murdered him. In the process, the miraculous machine shows how it can drive itself, rebuild itself after crashes, and even change shape.
In the end, justice is done, bad men confess, and the car designer’s spirit ascends to heaven.
The stunts and writing are decent, as are the seven songs by Himesh Reshammiya and Sameer. The acting is hammy, especially from the villains, but what else would you expect? The movie has actually become a sleeper hit with children over the years than with its target audience: adults who can afford nice cars.
The vehicle that was intended to be released was this purple “wonder car,” designed by Dilip Chahabria (who typically goes by his initials DC). The design was based off the 1991 Toyota MR2 and would’ve cost Rs 20 million, or $313,000, to own
Overall, the film’s not terrible–just a terrible way to get people interested in owning a car. Who would want to drive a vehicle associated with a dead man and the automobile company who killed him? If you said, “Not me!” we don’t blame you.
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- Aaron WidmarSenior Editor
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing... See more articles by Aaron.