Onto the biggest and the most ambitious release of the weekend. Right from the time its trailer was out, it had me all in. Not only did it promise for a nail biting political thriller but it also promised to keep the reality in check in terms of what may or may not be going on in the world’s largest democracy. And I have finally watched it on Amazon Prime. Is it worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Tandav follows the story of politics on the capital city of the world’s largest democracy. Now if you are familiar with the political climate of our country then you will instantly know who is who here. The screenplay is such that it draws inspiration in the beginning from real life events (at least a few) before branching out into fictional territory. To be honest I was surprised with the amount of flak that series has got, but I must admit some of it is justified. For starters, the narration could have been tighter. There were a few scenes which could have had better pacing. While the screenplay is off to a flyer early on, I can’t help but think that it got a bit muddled and slow paced in the middle. Also, there are few sequences barring the climax that are quite predictable and a lot has to do with the way things are narrated here, highlighting each incidents on how they happened instead of leaving it to the imagination of the audience. Having said that, the screenplay is not entirely bad. It definitely is gripping in most parts despite being predictable and holds your attention.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
Most dialogues are good but some of them.stick out like a sore thumb. It made me wonder if the pitch is right here. It should have been say less, tell more. The BGM is pretty good but the AR Rahman track from Yuva has been overtly used which was not required beyond a point. Director Ali Abbas Zafar had a tall order, not to mention ambitious one, at hand. It was interesting to see how he made that transition from commercial films to real hard hitting dramas. And it was a pretty good job though a little rough around the edges.
The performances are the highlights by the ensemble cast that save the day to a huge extent. There are several cameos which you may think that haven’t been given enough importance, but you have to remember this is just season 1. There would be season 2 eventually where these characters may get a piece of the cake. Hiten Tejwani, Neha Hinge, Amyra Dastur(extremely important in season 2), Tigmanshu Dhulia, Kumud Mishra, Paresh Pahuja(again important), Sandhya Mridul have all done a pretty good job here! Anup Soni as Kailash makes his presence felt, so does Dino Morea as Prof. Jigar. Gauhar Khan as Maithili looks pretty and has managed to hold her own against some of the best in the field. I would want to see more of her in the future too. Likewise for Shonali Nagrani who impresses as Aditi. Dimple Kapadia as Anuradha is simply outstanding and a treat to watch. Kritika Kamra as Sana is a layered and a conflicted character and played very well by her. Sarah Jane Dias as Ayesha is pretty good though I expect a better role for her in season 2, maybe like a lady Macbeth. Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub as Shiva has once again proved what a fine actor he is. He is so refreshing to watch in yet another meaty role. Saif Ali Khan as Samar is suave and cunning and excellent. The star of the show is Sunil Grover as Gurpal who makes a 180 degree U turn from the comedy space. His stoic expressions are intimidating and can send a shiver down your spine. He is simply brilliant and wish to watch more of him in the future. I cannot believe he is the same person who made the character of Gutthi so famous. Such a talent and he should not be wasted!
Despite falling short of expectations, Tandav is still a good political thriller that will keep you engaged throughout. Available on Amazon Prime.