The brand new nine-part net sequence Tandav wears its politics on its many sleeves, the motion divvied up in a few parallel strands. There’s the ‘robust’ get together which has been in energy for ‘two phrases’, with its ruling satraps, uber formidable leaders eyeing the ‘kursi’, and devoted henchmen (and ladies) who know that actual energy vests in those that keep behind the throne, as a result of they will see the enemy most clearly.
And there’s the scholar politics, taking part in out in a college, which seems to be suspiciously like Jawaharlal Nehru College, referred to as right here, nudge, wink, Vivekanand Nationwide Univerity, with its blocs of ‘left’ and ‘proper’, slogans of ‘azaadi’, and charismatic leaders being bunged into jail with none recourse.
Sounds acquainted? After all. That’s the complete level of this sequence, created and directed by Ali Abbas Zafar. You don’t have to be a media hound to twig on to the sly digs which can be strewn by way of the present. Sturdy events which swing proper, ‘left’ politics in vilified purple brick varsities with controversial statues, and the potential problem of the ‘yuva varg’: all these ‘real-life’ components come up in ‘Tandav’.
However that’s precisely the rub. The difficulty with cobbling plotlines from headlines is that it might probably slide into seen-it-been-here territory. Tandav’s insistence on clinging to formulaic telling, with its staccato reducing backwards and forwards from the ‘satta ke galiyaare’ to the ‘chahal pahal’ of the scholar arcades, lets down its characters, and dilutes its affect.
It begins nicely, giving us a refreshing father-son equation. After we first come across Devki Nandan Singh (Tigmanshu Dhulia), he’s Samar Pratap (Saif Ali Khan) as solely a died-in-the-wool ‘neta’ can: the latter could also be his ‘beta’, however Samar can be Devki’s strongest rival. Via that single look, we all know that these two could also be united by blood, however are divided by their ambitions. And so when blood is spilled, we’re not stunned. The act launches the sequence into predictable arcs, the place we will see what’s coming from miles off.
This a fantastic, diversified ensemble: Dimple Kapadia because the power-hungry Anuradha Kishore, Kumud Mishra as senior get together chief Gopal Das, all the time the bridesmaid, by no means the bride, Sunil Grover as Gurpal, Samar’s ruthless yesman, Gauhar Khan as Maithili, the canny lady behind Anuradha, Anup Soni as Kailash, the decrease caste chief who is aware of the worth of holding on to anger. And on the opposite facet, Zeeshan Ayyub as dynamic scholar chief Shiva Shekhar, Kritika Kamra as his advanced compatriot Sana, Sandhya Mridul as a feisty professor, Dino Morea as a two-faced bridge between the 2 sides.
Given this bunch, Tandav ought to have been a lot smarter, and rather more attention-grabbing. What floats up high is the deep mistrust between members of the family of politicians, as does the curse of ambition– to dwell with no peace, all the time apprehensive about somebody stabbing you within the again. Saif Ali Khan has moments, however comes off too Bollywood-familiar, as does Kapadia, clad in probably the most mouth-watering saris: each are able to a lot extra. Those that rise above the pedestrian writing are Grover (his Gurpal is shiver-inducing), Gauhar Khan and Sandhya Mridul, and Tigmanshu Dhulia, who infuses his half with actual brio, and is the very best a part of the present.
No matter punch there’s comes from the ‘netas’ and their machinations. The portrayal of the scholars, their in-fighting-speeches-campaigns, by no means actually elevate off the display screen; neither does, much more surprisingly, Zeeshan Ayyub, often so good. Disappointing that this goes the way in which it does. The way in which it ends, although, is clearly not the top. Can the second season be sharper, an precise ‘tandav’?