Onto the next release of the weekend and I have finished watching the new Hindi series Taaza Khabar which is streaming on Hotstar. And the main USP of the series and something that made me keenly await this series was Bhuvan Bam who is best known for his BB Ki Vines videos on Youtube. There are only a handful of Youtubers that have truly made it big in an industry that is guarded with respect to people ‘fitting in’. And while most youtubers are regarded as one trick ponies in terms of talent, people like Bhuvan Bam are not only ruling the roosts but also expanding with the help of their talent.
Bhuvan Bam had humble beginnings on Youtube that did manage to catch the attention of the audience. The man is insanely talented, creating multiple characters and essaying them with ease. And just when you as a viewer thought that his videos might be getting repetitive, he went on to make a brilliant show Dhindora last year which did mark his entry in the web space. This time, with Taaza Khabar he has pushed the envelope even further, stepping outside his comfort zone. Is he successful? And more importantly, is Taaza Khabar worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Taaza Khabar is a typical rags to riches story with a twist wherein the protagonist stumbles upon a magic power which allows him to get a piece of news from the future. But as they say, everything comes with a price! The story here isn’t very novel and is fairly predictable. However, there are plenty of enjoyable moments in the drama. The screenplay standing at 6 episodes of roughly 20 to 30 odd minutes each ensures a mighty brisk watch in a drama that is fast paced.
The first thing that I did like about the drama was the setup. The atmosphere created around a ghetto in Mumbai was apt. The grassroot level of Mumbai which is at times also glossy in certain films, wasn’t the case here. The setting was raw and fragile, something more close to reality. You are introduced to the protagonist who works at a sanitation center with big dreams in his eyes. But his life isn’t going anywhere with respect to the people around him who are also introduced one by one in the first episode. The twist in the tale promises a fun ride with respect to the rest of the drama. But a word of caution! While there is an element of subtle humour, do not go in expecting the brand of comedy that you have seen in Dhindora. This is not to say that the drama is bad but just to manage your expectations.
One thing that could have been improved in the writing department was that it could have been slightly more eventful, given its fun filled premise. The drama was far too predictable for my liking so much so that none of the twists did catch me off guard. It was maintaining a wavelength without any major peaks. The drama is indeed watchable but at times repetitive especially in the back end of the series. The writing does get slightly convoluted too whereas the fact is that this same premise could have also been pitched as a comedy.
The proceedings are mildly interesting but quite entertaining too. You do not really need to apply yourselves while watching the drama which was quite breezy. But the conflicts in the screenplay did seem half baked to me. The face-off between the protagonist and some of the other players did not quite give me that high. Those sequences could have elevated the drama but instead they do stall the drama to an extent. Even the final act was underwhelming although the series did end with a cliffhanger which may setup things well for season 2(if it were to be renewed). So overall, the screenplay is decent and predictable with moments of fun.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are well written and they do communicate the vibe of the drama really well. The music is just outstanding and the songs do well to take the drama forward. The BGM is spectacular as well. The cinematography and production design are outstanding and give the series a fresh look. Director Himank Gaur does a good job although he is unable to elevate the drama at a few places. But still credit to him for keeping the fun element of the drama intact.
The performances by the talented ensemble is perhaps the strongest pillar of the drama. This may be the last work of Mithilesh Chaturvedi who is now not with us. He is fabulous to watch here. Nitya Mathur as Shazia is excellent with a great screen presence. Shilpa Shukla as Resham and JD Chakravarthi as Shetty are both brilliant in their respective roles. It was great to watch Deven Bhojani after a long time and he is sincere and earnest. Prathamesh Parab as Peter and Atisha Naik are first rate here. Shriya Pilgaonkar as Madhu looks very pretty here and she does an incredibly good job. She is natural to the core and it is always a pleasure to watch her onscreen. Bhuvan Bam as Vasant is phenomenal here. This was an acid test for the talented performer primarily because he was stepping out of his comfort zone. And he passes with flying colours here. From being a timid and shy personality to a complete megalomaniac, he is absolutely brilliant here in what is another timely reminder of the talent that he possesses.
Despite it being predictable, Taaza Khabar is a fun thriller with outstanding performances that can be watched once. But yes, do manage your expectations with this one! Available on Hotstar.