If there’s a decent series coming up, I don’t mind binge watching them and even pulling all-nighters. Last night was one of those days when I spent those precious sleep hours, trying to finish the most awaited series this year, Tandav.
By the looks of the Tandav trailer, it looked powerful, and a fascinating concept since political dramas that revolve around the Game of the Ultimate throne hasn’t been seen off late. In fact, Saif Ali Khan and Sunil Grover together looked so good that they literally sold the series in a way that many like me would have spent hours binge-watching this political thriller + drama which aired on Amazon Prime.
The series was supposed to release on January 15, but Amazon Prime has become notorious for releasing its series a few hours before midnight because it did happen with Mirzapur 2 as well.
The star cast includes Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Anup Soni, Dino Morea, Kumud Mishra, Sarah Jane Dias, Gauahar Khan, Kritika Kamra, Sandhya Mridul, and several others.
With a star cast full of people who are great actors and have a lot of potentials, I had very high expectations from the series. So much so that I did sleep an extra few hours in the afternoon, brewed myself some coffee beforehand so that I could easily stay up all night.
I had a few reasons to be excited about this one. One of them being, the presence of Saif Ali Khan. The Nawab has been the one who put the Indian web series craze into the map with this very successful and much applaudable stint in Sacred Games 1. Another reason has been that Ali Abbas Zafar hadn’t explored OTT platforms and this was his first move towards the world of web series.
However, it wasn’t what I imagined it to be, and it definitely wasn’t as strong as its trailer intended it to be.
I’ll talk about the good things first and that’s the performances. Saif Ali Khan in his negative protagonist role was a treat to the eyes. He perfectly played the part of Samar Pratap Singh, right from his body language to his villainous smile, there’s very little to flaw about the man in this role. It looked like he was born to do this.
I personally feel that Khan should play more such roles where he plays a negative character, in fact, he has carefully started to choose roles for himself that work for him. Even if you go by his history, his performance in movies like Ek Hasina Thi, Omkara, and Tanhaji all have been received exceedingly well by the audience. He carries out these negative roles with such finesse that he leaves very little room for error.
Dimple Kapadia held her ground strongly and she made sure that you grow to love to hate her character as the series progressed. We haven’t seen her in a negative light, and I think it’s a refreshing change for the audience. I loved how she managed to create that aura around her, which was hard to miss.
And while these two actors managed to leave an impression, it was Sunil Grover who was the cherry on a cake. This has to be his best performance to date. I mean, he looks so convincing and right for the part of Saif Ali Khan‘s right hand. His accent, his loyalty for Samar Pratap Singh, his concept of overcoming regrets, all of them are just so beautifully executed.
That man will win your heart, and he so slyly does that. If you’ve followed House of Cards and remember Doug Stamper, you’ll see a resemblance of the man in Grover, and feel similar chills when watching him in action.
Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub has proved himself to be a great star, time and time again, and his performance in Tandav is another proof of that. You’ll love every bit of him, his character is someone that will make you forget for once that you’re in fact watching a TV series. I love how he manages to take the center stage in scenes despite being opposite some of the greatest stars in the industry.
Kumud Mishra also adds to the drama and is applaud worthy, but I still prefer his Thappad performance over this. Kritika Kamra was also a delight and to my surprise, I did like her performance better than Gauahar Khan’s who plays the role of Kapadia’s secretary. Anup Soni and Sandhya Mridul look good and there’s not much to complain about there since both of them are good actors.
Dino Morea is alright, looked his part, and wasn’t a letdown( I didn’t have a lot of expectation from him as it is). Sarah Jane Dias is a disappointment of some sorts, and while she did look good on screen, her expressions are just set in one tone with hardly any variation, I felt like I was watching Kristen Stewart in the Twilight series.
There are several other supporting characters, who’ve mostly done a decent job.
And while the cast has done a tremendous job, the story and the execution has been a let down in ways that I didn’t expect. The worst part about it was the predictability of the plot. Funnily, after an episode or two, I played a game on predicting the next move and ended up getting 70% of my predictions right. And that cut back on the great performances.
The story could have been slightly more original, I mean it felt like borrowed from a few events in real life into fiction and other movies/series that have been seen including Game of Thrones. I expected a few scenarios and plotlines to have been creatively done and concealed to make them look convincing enough.
Another let down was the while the series was on the right pace in the first couple of episodes, it did slow down after a while. I believed that it was a bit of drag by the end of it. Part of the show tried to explore the love/hate relationship between a ruling party and a liberal student community that does not agree with the ideology but failed there as well.
It’s bright, sparkly, and shiny, but that’s all that there is to the series. The set is beautiful, the theme of the show is pompous and the stars have made to look very glamorous, but the whole build-up of the series makes you feel sad for the cast. It’s a shame that their work was wasted in a storyline that if it was written and directed properly, it could have been the best marvelous piece on the OTT platform this year.
There are parts in the storyline which are good, but they move away too quickly for you to stay gripped and hooked with the plot at least.
I expected a lot out of Ali Abbas Zafar, and I thought that he’d paint a stunning picture on his empty OTT Canvas, but I saw was a waste of sheer talent, in a sparkly series that tried to appeal to the classes it intended to and was unable to get a response from the ones it wanted to get affected.
All in all, if you’re looking for some strong performances or if you happen to be a Saif Ali or a Sunil Grover fan, you should give it a watch once at least. However, it won’t be a very big deal even if you ended up missing it after all.