Making a political drama in our country is a challenging task. You can never reveal the dirty depths and bring forth the true picture. However, in the past, Bollywood has managed to churn out some classic films with politics as its backdrop. Ali Abbas Zafar's Tandav, unfortunately, does not fit the bill. I will not get into the plot of the show, as its trailer is quite self-explanatory, in fact it's the full series.
In spite of a stellar star cast and writer, Gaurav Solanki, who gave us a gripping Article 15 starring Ayushmann Khurana, Tandav goes off-track on reaching the last few episodes. It does start strong as the first few episodes talk about the farmers' protest, university issues (in the series called as VNU, like really!) the youth agitation, the power of social media in dictating today's political world and of course, kissa kursi ka.
However, these issues are merely touched upon and shown in a jiffy. For someone like me, who doesn't have keen interest in politics, I will not say that these things did not get my attention but then it was momentary. While I was expecting a close to reality act from Ali Abbas Zafar, I was introduced to a few Bollywood gimmicks of how things are done in the world of politics, like dropping money-filled airbags in bins. Ah, and also glamorous sarees, well-styled and perfectly curled hair of the ladies- Gauahar Khan (PM's secretary) and Shonali Nagrani (Defence Minister). Wondering, why have I never seen such well-groomed ladies in our system?
The only surprise package of the show was Sunil Grover. He plays man Friday to Saif Ali Khan and facilitates all the dirty work for him BUT there is more to him and it's very cocky. This season doesn't reveal much but I am sure Season 2 will answer our questions. His performance is spectacular and frankly, I didn't think that Sunil could pull off a serious role like Gurpal's so well, considering his heavy comic baggage.
Saif Ali Khan tries to add fire to his character with his charm and subtle nuances but it all seems very average because there isn't much happening around. Dimple Kapadia and Zeeshan Ayyub- two other pivotal characters of the show- stand strong but then face the same issue as Saif- when the script has nothing more to offer, how much can you do?
The series has a fantastic supporting cast- Sandhya Mridhul, Annup Sonii, Dino Morea, Kritika Kamra, Kumud Mishra- and all of them wasted, at least in Season 1. How else do you explain giving talented actors like Annup Sonii and Sandhya Mridhul just one proper scene in the whole series?
Overall, Tandav is an extremely Bollywood-ish version of the so-called 'reality of the political world' which doesn't offer to show anything new. I wish they treated the film with as much depth and sensitivity as the issues they chose to deal with. It's a 2 star from me, and honestly, you can give this one a skip.
Image source: Youtube/SpotboyE
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