All that glitters is not gold, and ZEE5's latest web series, Paurashpur proves just that. Shot magnificently on a big scale, Season 1 of the show, starring talent powerhouse like Annu Kapoor, Shilpa Shinde, Shaheer Sheikh and the Greek God, Milind Soman, has superficial sheen but falters extensively in forming a strong base.
The story is of a kingdom, Paurashpur, ruled by King Bhadra Pratap Singh (Annu Kapoor) where women are treated as slaves and as an object to satisfy men's lustful desires. Meeravati (Shilpa Shinde), who is King's first wife and patrani, makes sure that his needs are met, in the form of providing him with young queens, who keep disappearing mysteriously from the palace. Boris (Milind Soman), the transgender who always makes the King uncomfortable with his presence, has some link to the queens' abductions.
The plot of the web series unfolds to bring out the condition of women in the society and how they fight it out. The end of this season introduces Shaheer Sheikh's character, who will be having a major role in the upcoming Season, as in this one, you will hardly see him in 2 scenes.
Season 1 comprises 7 episodes, approximately 18 mins each (including credits and introduction title). I don't understand why the makers couldn't just release it as a film. The episodes end abruptly and it's just weird to see 15 mins of content.
The director, Baljeet Singh Chaddha, brought together all the right ingredients- high production value, great casting, strong background score- but the final dish turned out to be not so scrumptious.
The characters fail to leave a mark as the writing lacks depth. For instance, it was unclear why Boris hated Bhadra Pratap Singh so much, why Meeravati betrayed Boris, who was in a way helping her- will we get the answers in Season 2? I hope so. But will you watch Season 2, that's the bigger question!
Annu Kapoor looks a bit misfit as a King but he delivers a decent performance and succeeds in evoking feelings of hatred for him. Shilpa Shinde has done a good job and it's refreshing to see her in an all-new avatar. Milind Soman tries hard to behave like a transgender but ends up looking smoking hot in that look too- who is to be blamed, I wonder?
Look and feel of the show is magnificent. The makers have poured in money and that can be seen. Full points for costume and set designing. If I had to rate Paurashpur for the way it's been shot, then I'd give it a 9 on 10.
Overall, Paurashpur's Season 1 is relief for the eye but not so much for the brain as it will leave you asking questions at many points. I wish the time and effort put in making the series look so good, would have been put in its script, screenplay and direction too. I hope the story builds up in Season 2 and only for that hope, I will say it's bingeworthy and give it 2.5 stars.
Image source: Instagram/altbalaji/youtube/SpotboyE
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