Vitthal Teedi Review: Post Scam 1992 Pratik Gandhi Returns Full Force In His Native Tongue

After roaring success with Scam 1992, Pratik Gandhi is back with the impressive Gujarati series Vitthal Teedi

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Vitthal Teedi Review: Post Scam 1992 Pratik Gandhi Returns Full Force In His Native Tongue

There is a sequence in the second episode of this fairly engaging series where Pratik  Gandhi, the Gujarati actor who shot to national fame with Applause Entertainment’s web series  Scam 1992,  gazes at the girl he fancies.

It’s a typical boy-gawks-at-girl moment where she pretends to be busy chatting with her friends.  Watch the landscape of myriad emotions on Gandhi’s face,  from love and lust to pride and diffidence. This is no ordinary actor. Just like his rustic character Vitthal, Gandhi hasn’t gotten where he has by fluke but skill.

I can’t say that this series takes Pratik Gandhi’s success story further than Scam. But I can guarantee you a Gandhi very different from what he was. Gandhi’s Vitthal is a far cry from Harshad  Mehta. Though an incorrigible card player and gambler Vitthal won’t compromise with his conscience. Won’t sell his soul for rokda (money), will do anything for his father(Ragi Jani, brilliant) and sister (Brinda Trivedi). Just after the sequence described above where Vitthal gazes longingly at the girl he wants to marry (but can’t)  Vitthal is seen entering a tailor’s shop.

“My Bachchan has come,” the tailor announces proudly. He is a Bachchan fan. There is a picture of Shri Bachchan in his shop. When he compares  Pratik to the iconic hero it is no exaggeration. Pratik Gandhi gets royal treatment in this series about an ordinary rural family trying to hold its head high amidst rising prices and falling moral values.

Vitthal smiles at the tailor’s introduction and commands to make the best possible dress. “For my sister,” he adds before the tailor and we jump to our conclusions.

Family first for Vitthal.And last. The early scenes of the siblings’ childhood, lay down the family’s ground rules sensibly.  The series begins with the mother’s death and the way the tragedy impacts young Vitthal played by the child Vishal Thakkar who gazes into the distance as though he knows what, and who is coming.

I wish the scenes showing Vitthal at the card table were reduced.  After a point, they look like spacefillers meant to keep the episodes stretched out to a  playing-time of  30 minutes per episode. The crux core and heart of the series is contained in Episode 4  where after winning a bonanza for his dear sister’s marriage, Vittthal must take a very tough moral decision.

It’s to the actor Pratik Gandhi’s credit that he is so closely attuned to his character’s heartbeat. Full marks to all the actors, even those playing minor roles of Vitthal’s card buddies, for keeping the faith alive till the final episode.

Some episodes work better than the others. While the rural Gujarat locations are drop-dead authentic and the camera-work (Tapan Vyas) significantly articulate, the background music does most of the  ‘heavy lifting. It sounds heavily lifted from extraneous sources.

Watch this engaging though uneven series for  Pratik Gandhi’s performance as well the other actors who surrender to the plot without a jot of misgiving. It is a humane and heartwarming story with enough fuel to keep the momentum going.

Directed by Abhishek Jain, Vitthal Teedi gets 3 stars! 

Image source: instagram/ohogujarati