Four more Shots Please : Review

I have taken a sabbatical from Web series after I finished watching Game of  Thrones.  A recent flip through Amazon Prime showed me the trailer of this, which was supposed to stream in complete on January 25th.

So, I did what I do – Watched it in full.

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The girls in titular characters are played by my favorite actor Sayani Gupta, another favorite Maanvi Gagroo and Kriti Kulhari and V J Bani. I’ve seen the last two for the first time on screen. It’s been directed by Anu Menon and the series is created by Rangita Pritish Nandy. There are a whole lot of male characters, including still-drool-worthy Milind Soman, Pratiek Babbar, Neil Bhoopalam and Ankur Rathee. Dont’ worry – I’ve even heard of the last two names only today. Also starring Lisa Ray!

So, the web series has 10 episodes and each with a rough run time of 30+ minutes.  The ladies make friends in bar on one eventful night and remain stuck with each other ever since.  Each of them has a different profile, different challenges and have a different way of dealing with people and situations.  Through Sayani, we see how  a startup founder can be ousted from their company, and through Kriti – we see how its perfectly normal to be jealous of your good-for-nothing’s new girl friend.  V J Bani and Maanvi deal with more sensitive issues and they get the best roles of the lot. While Bani’s characterization is established as bisexual – she is only shown with lesbian tendencies through out the series.  Maanvi’s  issue of mother not being happy with her and her weight comes across as silly at first – but it grows on you over time.  While Sayani’s character bounces back like a ball,  Maanvi withdraws into more mess.

There are lot of explicit scenes and the women are as fashionable and less-dressed as they can be.  While they meet at the bar, all of them do not drink anywhere except there – and only when they come as a group.  There are couple of shock factors in the movie – How corporate politics work, how cheap behavior has no age limit and  how bad guys always end up getting one good girl after the other.

While the female characters are strong and have very good story line and defenses for them, the weaker section of the web series are guys.  For instance, Milind Soman’s character is a doctor whom Sayani secretly crushes. For a while, things look good until he suddenly starts showing interest in her. Very unlikely for a busy gynec.  On similar lines,  the character of  Prateik – while he realizes his love for Sayani all the while, he randomly ends up with his ex who cheated on him.  Not convincing enough.  I understand the shots and series is all about women,  but men aren’t so dumb out there.  Their povs, their frustrations do not get any screen space at all.

While the 9 episodes go off like a breeze with a hiccup here and there,  the 10th episode is all the tragedy.   The writer and the director feel the compulsive need to introduce drama and make every story a bad ending at the end. Sayani stands in front of the man she loves with her ex,  Maanvi breaks off her engagement as her prospective father in law is perverse, Bani breaks her heart yet again and  Kriti is now threatened to be taken away permanently from her daughter. While I understand how story cannot be ended happily as it’s real life – but there can always  be something good happening with each of the characters.  Life cannot be shit for so many people at the same time.

Another weakening aspect of the plot is the “perfect” friendship between the ladies is never put to test until the last episode.  They laugh and giggle, but over random conversations and nothing’s really deep.  Some more time for this would have kept the audience more emotionally engaged.

So, my favorite character – Maanvi aka Siddhi Gupta.  Call your girl friends home, put kids to sleep and  take a tub of popcorn and enjoy!

Rating –  8/10

Have a good day and keep rocking!!

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Web TV Series Review : Sacred Games

I wasn’t tracking this one down , but my recent netflix subscription gently coaxed me to watch it. How? By showing the star cast.  I subscribed to Netflix only to watch Dhobi Ghat, and ended up watching a lot more – Dhobi Ghat, Masaan, Waiting, and finally The Sacred Games.  Couldn’t binge watch all the 8 episodes, despite my best try. Instead, spread it over 3 nights and finally was done yesterday night.

First things first. Lifted from Wikipedia – 

Sacred Games is an Indian web television series by Netflix based on Vikram Chandra’s 2006 thriller novel Sacred Games.[1][2] The series was produced in partnership with Phantom Films. All eight, hour-long episodes are directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, who are co-founders of Phantom Films. The production wrapped on 28 January, 2018, with first look released on 23 February, 2018. The show is one of the seven Netflix Indian Originals in production.

Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddique and Radhika Apta don the key roles, with the most interesting characters played  by Luke Kenny, Kubra Sait , Jatin Sarna,  Jitendra Joshi and  Neeraj Kabi. It has the talented Rajshri Despande and Anupriya Goenka. The show has two directors – Vikramaditya Motwane ( Remember, Udaan) and Anurag Kashyap( If you need intro, please stop reading here) – one shooting the past and other, the  present day.

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The story starts with a honest but unsuccessful police officer Sartaj (Saif)  receiving call from gangster of the decade(Nawaz)  – only because of his dead constable father.  They have 25 days to save the city of Mumbai, and everyone will die – except Trivedi. Sartaj starts his  hunt, and what he uncovers is chilling. Extremely realistic and dark, My personal favorite is the past episodes.

Every character has several layers  and in the end it is hard to conclude if anyone is perfectly black and white.  They can’t – just like in real life.  The web series is about the rise of a gangster, about a honest police offer finally giving in to the pressures of  the system, about a lady RAW agent in the “area” of men. More than anything else, it is how Religion is used to make idiots out of perfectly normal people like you and me. The rise of politicians, the dirty marriage between law and politics, how movie stars can get involved in shady stuff and how everything can be brought for money.

Filled with expletives, watch it with headphones on.  Out of all, the thread that is perfectly etched in my memory is Constable Katekar. Happy go Lucky and always available for Sartaj( Saif) – he dies the day he tries to do his duty.  The web series is a pleasure to watch, because all the actors know exactly where to stop. There is no glorification, over dramatization – everyone fails. Everyone disappoints themselves and others.  Even with the most notorious criminals – you tend to have an empathy for what they go through in front of you. On the small screen.

I’m not a fan of mainstream bollywood and have sat through exactly one Saif movie so far – Hum Tum. He put on weight, and his mannerisms as a defeated police officer to somehow redeem himself are excellent. All the supporting cast – treat to watch.

Do yourself a favor –  watch this web series and soak in the city of Mumbai : “Anything is possible here!”

Rating : 10/10

 

Web Series Review: Gangstars

I saw the AD for this Web Series on a Telugu Channel. Yes, it’s the FIRST Web Series released in Amazon Prime for Telugu Language. It’s dubbed in hindi and  tamil as well, but the actors and the nativity is all Telugu. Nandini Reddy, Ala Modalaindi fame is the creative head and has done the Story- Screenplay while Ajay Bhuyan has directed it.

The Web Series is done by Early Monsoon Tales ( which is a Web Division of  Vyjayanthi Movies) and Silly Monks  Entertainment. Starring popular telugu actors Jagapathi Babu and Navdeep, it also stars Shweta Basu Prasad and introduces Apoorva Arora. There’s a plethora of supporting actors, the main one being Raghu Ramakrishna. The same guy from Arjun Reddy running a sad clinic.

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There are various plots in the web series –  A Gangster who is mistakenly told he has cancer,  A couple who breakup and then realize how much they love each other, how success and stardom turn people blind. This is like eating a full plate meals at the best andhra restaurant in the World.

The drama in front of the viewer’s eyes keeps on unfolding and thread by thread the plots keep getting solved. Tbere is no main plot as such, it’s like a bunch of short stories, exceptionally well done. What I would havel loved is the main thread, and the branching of sub plots from that.  The story moves from sentiment, to love, to revenge.  Subtle  things like twitter craze, aversion towards gentral nuetral people have been briefly touched.

Since lot of people associated with it come from film Industry, quite lot of web screen was taken in showing how Internals of the  Industry work.  One of the  things I will remember for a long long time is It’s all a matter of perception.  That ‘s shown in various situations across the web series.

Every actor did an exceptionally well job , especially  Sivaji in the last two episodes. Heriones looked pretty and did what was expected out of them.

Must Watch.

Rating : 10/10 . Catch it here.

Have a good day and keep rocking!

 

Web Series Review : Chacha Vidhayak Hai Hamare

I finished watching this quite some time back, and how my hands were itching to write a review since then. Zakir Khan is my most favorite stand up comic. His self deprecating humor and witty sharp lines have a clear fan in me. So, when his web series came out on Prime – I sacrificed one early sleep and binge watched all the 8 episodes.

 

 

So, what’s this all about ? Ronny, a good-for-nothing 26 yrs old guy tries to do good to others as  his Uncle is an MLA. ( Chacha is a Vidhayak).  Except he is NOT. And the only guy who knows this is Ronny. There are all the ingredients of a typical masala web series –  gang of friends, a cute girl who the guy tries to impress,  and the villian. However, what’s missing from this web series – Soul.

There are many issues with this Web series. First and foremost, Zakir Khan.  Take a leaf or two from Biswa, if you can’t act – don’t try.  He casted Ritwik  Sahore and it suited well. He appeared only where there’s nothing to be done except Stare and deliver a dialogue or two.  There is no sanctity to the friendship Ronny shares, he lies to the closest of his friends. There’s no emotional depth with this family – he sells his  father’s car and cannot make out his father is out of job.  The girl whom he tries – he never tries to understand what goes on his her mind, and just keeps on increasing his fantasies every single time.

Zakir Khan yaar – atleast you should have some justification on why he tells everyone that his Chacha is a Vidhayak!

 

There are no twists and turns –  the ending is as bad as it can get.  If you get caught by an MLA who looks like Abhimanyu Singh – your poster will be hung but at home with a diya in front of it.  As audience, I felt cheated and I felt Ronny’s character deserved better punishment for all he does.

He neither evoked laughter, nor empathy nor sympathy. And he never got what he deserved. Watch it if you must.

Rating :  4/10

This is available on Amazon Prime, catch it here

 

Web series review : Ragini MMS Returns

I got a notification about this from ALTBalaji app on my mobile. You should stop here if you are a regular thriller watcher, I am not fit to write reviews for your consumption. 

Okay, now that you are here – read on.

With 12 episodes each about 20 mins ling – the story is about haunted MMS College. The Principal reopens after 20 years and rents for a wedding just before that.

People see a CD and they die. The CD cant be destroyed. Now, its upto us to make sure no one dies and the ghost is gone.

Lead cast looks decent and have done what the director demanded of them. Clear logic violation in many cases makes you feel as if you got cheated on logic. I am thoroughly disappointed that they chose to go with ghosts-are-real concept than a human-behind-this. We are in 2018, atleast we can try and become better at story telling.

Ah, yes. This has been publicized as boldest web series. That is true – you feel like watching Ekta Kapoor home productions movies – bold;yes. Unnecessary – YES.

Overall, its a one time watch. Catch it on ALTBalaji.

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Web Series Review : Little Things Season 1

Coming late 2016, this web series is from the house of Dice Media.  Written by Dhruv Sehgal and directed by Ajay Bhuyan, this web series has 5 episodes.  Starring ‘Girl in the City’ girl Mithila Palkar(Kavya)with writer Saheb Dhruv( also as Dhruv in the series)  – this web series tries to take us through the little things in the life of a young couple in live-in.

Each episode talks about a particular day in their lives. About a lazy sunday while others are chilling out, about how they make up to each other after a silly fight in the morning, about a spoiled dinner plan and likes.  There’s no story at all – it’s just regular conversations.  Instead of listening to your friends, you watch these two on the screen.  The last episode reveals how they also get serious and not only do silly things together – I thought that wasn’t a good ending. They can keep talking silly things without getting serious – dude, that’s the theme anyway?!

There’s nothing wrong with the web series, but too simple for my taste.  Look at Pushpavalli or Inside Edge – I think I am more for drama than everyday chatter and banter.  I liked Dhruv more than Kavya in this – his mannerisms were carved out really well.

Watch it if you are in teens and are in love with someone. Otherwise, just give a miss.

Rating – 8/10

Catch it here –

 

Web Series Review : Untag

This web series, coming from the nest of Voot has an impressive story line. It’s about the tags we give ourselves based on how we are or how we look , more than what we are capable of or how we feel.  Primarily dealing with the feeling of being “FAT” and hence bound by the belief of not being good enough for anyone – it also tackles the issues of being gay in this democratic country.

This web series has 6 episodes, each with a run time of 19 minutes each. Starring Anjali Anand(Shikha), Meiyang Chang( Nischay), Dipanita Sharma Atwal(Anahita), Andy Kumar(Cyrus),  Navin Polishetty( Sumit) and Shiv Pandit(Prithvi) and directed by Ashima Chibber – this is a breath of fresh air.

Shikha is a fat lady who just goes through a breakup. She stays with Nischay,a gay guy who isn’t apologetic of who he is. As time progresses, we see Shikha fall in love with a hot guy from rival marketing agency and Nischay finding love in a closet gay who will never come out, no matter what.

Let’s get this straight. In this world of fairness creams and 6-pack abs, it takes a lot more than just being funny to like a really fat girl. That part isn’t developed at all – it can’t be some random scenes of picking cactus and coming under the car.  On the other hand, Nischay and Sumit’s chemistry is shown well – Sumit shines really well and someone who can’t admit who’s gay but finds his true love nevertheless.  The way Shikha is told that she needs to stop hating herself because she is fat and unloveworthy, and how Nischay gets accepted by parents – are the highlight scenes of the webseries. Anyday, gay episodes win over shikha’s episodes.

Except these characters – every other character is un necessary.  Why is it important for every web series to have a boss who is young, ruthless woman? And why spread the web series so thin that you don’t know why majority of the  characters exist at all? The makers would have done a favour by just taking two tags – fat and gay and exploring in more depth. This web series is like stopping by Baskin Robbins and asking for taste of Vanilla, Honey Nut Crunch and Almond Praline Cream. So, in the end – you do know how they taste like, but you haven’t experienced anything in detail.

One time watch.

Rating : 6/10

Catch it here –

https://www.voot.com/shows/untag/1/464200/untag-uninterrupted-watch-the-whole-series/469781