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Salt City

Farhad Dalal
By-
Farhad Dalal
Rating
3.5 Star popcorn reviewss

Introduction

And the weekend is finally here with the new releases beginning to pour in from today! And there are as many as 5 webseries to cover along with 5 other content, so lets get started! First up, I finished watching the new Hindi webseries Salt City streaming on SonyLiv. At the time when its trailer was out, I realised what a great starcast this is. An interesting bunch of actors seemed to have formed the right kind of rhythm in the series which supposedly dealt with complex relationships. I have always been fascinated with the subject where you get a glimpse into the psyche of the characters where there is more than what meets the eye. This until there is a can of worms which opens up where you get an actual idea of the friction between characters. That said, does Salt City manage to impress, lets find out!

Story & Screenplay

Salt City follows the story of a dysfunctional family who reunite for a wedding. But nothing is what it seems to be. The story reminded me of the Mira Nair directed film Monsoon Wedding which was way ahead of its time. The complexities of the characters in that film is so well showcased that it almost becomes futile in comparing anything to that. But here as well I really enjoyed the subtle nuances and the complex take on relationships. The screenplay standing at 7 episodes of roughly 30 odd minutes each(except episode 1 and 7)  means that it is binge watch worthy. Right at the beginning, you are introduced to the characters and can instantly feel a good amount of friction between them. Each one of them has strained relationships with one another although no one really is open enough to discuss it and subsequently address it.

The drama is a slow burn and it unfolds in leisurely manner. And this is what would make the drama niche. In times of pacy thrillers, this drama requires patience to truly understand the smaller nuances and its texture. The sub-plots are interesting but some of them are half baked and don’t reach the desired conclusion. But there are undercurrents of a big revelation which will remind you of Monsoon Wedding(and I really can’t help but comparing it here). I felt the drama is gripping for most parts until the end where it just loses its grip in trying to setup things for season 2. The ending seemed a bit random and did not really sit well with me(although the show hasn’t ended yet and a new season would be coming). But still credit needs to be given to the writers for exploring the subtle yet complex take on relationships in what is a commendable attempt!


Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are conversational for most parts until the end when they become over the top. The music and its use in the screenplay is pretty interesting. The BGM is subtle and never overpowers the drama which is unfolding onscreen. The cinematography is decent but the editing is a little choppy in many scenes which does dilute the drama to an extent. Director Rishabh Anupam Sahay does quite a good job here. Firstly you need to address the fact that exploring the nuances of relationships is never a easy task and it needs a good level of craft to real extract it and present it in an impactful manner. And here the direction is good for most parts until the final episode where it just starts wandering a bit. But overall, a good job done.

Performances

The performances are really good here. Apeksha Porwal as Rashmi shines in a cameo. Vinita Joshi as Sulekha is first rate and natural to the core as is Nivedita Bhattacharya as Vibha who is quite good. Manish Nawani as Rohit is quite endearing. Eisha Chopra as Esha had to internalize a lot of her emotions and she does a commendable job. Jitin Gulati as Sukesh is absolutely fabulous here, so much so that he will make your blood boil. His growth as an actor has been immense since his “Ms Dhoni – The Untold Story” days. Monica Choudhary as Ela is absolutely terrific and the way she had to portray some of the issues which her character was dealing it was really heartfelt. Navni Parihar as Triveni is pretty good as the mother who is oblivious of the things going around her. Pranay Pachauri fresh of the success of Guilty Minds is fabulous as Nikhil and he really makes his presence felt. Manish Anand as Aman is again  character who had to internalize a lot of emotions and he does it pretty efficiently. Gauahar Khan as Gunjan is one of the best actors of display here and she is excellent. It makes me the happiest as more and more filmmakers are tapping into her potential. She looks pretty here and is quite effortless. Piyush Mishra as Harish is brilliant and an absolute pleasure watching him onscreen always. Divyendu Sharma as Saurabh has a lovely character arc here. From being jovial and care free to searching for his identity following an incident, he is incredibly good and a stark difference from his role in Mirzapur.

Conclusion

Salt City is a complex take on relationships which is niche and will require patience. But if you enjoy the dramas which tap into the friction of a relationship, then this one is for you. Available on SonyLiv.

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