13 reasons to assert that ‘Teefa In Trouble’ is basically a Pakistani ‘Tangled’

If you happen to point out what’s common between Steven Spielberg’s shark-fest, Jaws, and the classic English epic, Beowolf, you would know what this article is about. The similarities between Sarat Chandra’s Devdas (made thrice for big screen by Bollywood) and Pakistan’s first adult rated film, Neela Parbat (1969), can also be a case in point here.

Now that 2018’s biggest hit in terms of a non-festival release, Teefa in Trouble has made it to Netflix, Iflix, and even television, we bring you some interesting similarities between Teefa and Tangled.

There is also a little philosophical side to all these similarities between different films, but we discuss those later in the article. Here is a list of similarities between the Ali Zafar and Maya Ali starrer Teefa in Trouble and Walt Disney’s Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi starrer Tangled.

1. Hero’s Opening Monologue

Tangled opens with Eugene’s Monologue with “This is the story of how I died”. Teefa opens with a somewhat similar monologue where he gives his two cents on how life works. The sequence in both films follow introduction of key characters.

2. The Opening Scene, Robbery, and a Charming Thief

In both the films, the heroes are introduced in a thrilling robbery scene romanticizing their charming persona. Whats more, both the films have this opening action scene done on roof tops. Wherein Tangled witnesses Eugene running on a royal palace, Teefa is seen chasing his target on top of old Lahore with its historical royal mosque in the backdrop.

The scene is preceded by a sequence where Teefa uses a frying pan to knock down a baddy, something Disney’s Rapunzel used quite frequently.

3. A Damsel in Distress With a Step Mom

Another basic element common between Teefa and Tangled are their heroines.
Both Rapunzel and Aniya are having shades of damsel in distress, waiting for their respective, yet somewhat similar dreams to realize.

Both want to go out of their respective confines to explore the world, to fulfil their dreams, and then to settle down. Both are “princesses” in their own rights and both the young ladies are hindered by their scheming and evil, yet charming and intelligent step mothers.

While Rapunzel’s step mom is the ultimate antagonist, Aniya’s is limited to first half only, but yet she proves to be the pivotal catalyst for Aniya to leave her home.

4. A Charming Thief, Out to Steal but Steals the Heart of the Princess

It’s not just the ladies who are similar. Eugene and Teefa are quite the mirror images of each other too. Both are charming and sexy with a signature grin, have a short stubble, and long, silky hair.

Not just the facial resemblance. Teefa, like Eugene, is donning a blue jacket in numerous sequences. They are intelligent and shrewd, aren’t afraid to get into fights with thugs, and have a great sense of humor.

Both are trying to keep the girls in the dark at some point of the film and both have seedy pasts and humble background. Both the leading boys even open up about that past to their girls at some points in an emotional sequence.

5. A Boy-Girl Adventurous Trip

A big chunk of both the films portray a boy and a girl on an adventure trip across the country that proves as means of self-discovery. They are accompanied by “friends” (Tangled has Pascal and Maximus while Teefa has Tony Dot Shah).

They come across various challenges, are chased by State Police and goons, and come out successful, finally reaching their destinations.

6. Beautiful Songs on the Way

How can a beautiful and adventurous journey be complete without some beautiful songs that characters are crooning on the way?

Tangled and Teefa both are peppered with catchy and melodious songs that garnish the narrative and keep it interesting.

7. Lake, Dances, and Lanterns

Speaking of songs, the iconic scene of Tangled featuring lanterns and the protagonists romancing on a lake is somewhat recreated in a beautiful way in Teefa.

Teefa and Aniya dancing on a romantic Sajna Door on a lake with a few lanterns speckled besides them give some heavy Disney-esque vibes.

8. The “Falling in Love on the Way”

Rapunzel and Aniya both fall for “Their Bad Guys with a Heart of
Gold,” during their journey. Initially, both Teefa and Eugene are hesitant to the romantic feelings for their girls, but then find themselves “tangled” in their love.

9. Guy Betraying the Girl

Since both the guys have a grey side to their characters, they are hiding somewhat similar secrets (both are thieves and both are on the run with an ultimate goal to get money) from their ladies.

10. Redemption of the Guy

Since both our heroes have a heart of gold, it doesn’t take much time for them to realize they did wrong to their heroines.

They then hop on an arduous drive to correct whatever wrong they did.

11. Hero Fights Baddies but Gets Badly Hurt

Teefa and Eugene both are fighting baddies and sneakily come out of the hold of the villains running away from them. During the struggle, both are fatally injured. While Teefa is hit by a bullet, Eugene is carrying a knife wound.

12. Girl Saves Guy From a Fatal Wound

Yet, our heroines are there to save the day. They are the first to know that their Love interest is in danger, but before doing so, the ladies deem it necessary to indulge in a romantic sob with their heroes.

13. Post wedding Life Story

Even the happy endings of Teefa and Tangled are similar. Teefa and Eugene both are happily married to their “princesses.” Both, however, continue to be cheeky and mischievous. Moreover, all the characters are shown having achieved their desired goals. Maximus becomes police chief in Tangled and Tony gets to marry Sara.

The villains end up in jail in both the films. And both films hint at a sequel in the end, which we would really want to see.

The Philosophy Behind It

Is Teefa’s basic plot inspired by Tangled? The answer can go either way. The reason is explained in Christopher Booker’s, “The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories.” According to Booker, there are primarily seven basic plots in the entire world. It is these plots that get recycled repeatedly in novels, movies, plays, and operas.

These are:

  • Overcoming the Monster
  • Rags to Riches
  • The Quest
  • Voyage and Return
  • Rebirth
  • Comedy
  • Tragedy

Teefa and Tangled both fall under the broader umbrella of “Comedy,” which in its purest form is a story that has happy endings and traces a hero (or a heroine’s) journey from immaturity to self discovery or realization.

The protagonists ultimately end up finding themselves happy with restoration of order or the promise of renewal.

Do let us know in the comments if you also see the similarities between Teefa in Trouble and Tangled, and which other seemingly different films you found similar?

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I am a doctor,a foodie and a traveller. The aroma of Popcorn ,the peculiar sensation of being in a darkened theatre,enjoying a Film, intrigues & gives me a reason to promote Pakistani Cinema. anjumhassan87@gmail.com