Tandav Review: Dimple Kapadia, Saif Ali Khan’s Web-Series Dances To A Facile Bollywood Beat

Tandav Overview: Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and others on a poster (courtesy ihimanshumehra)

Created by: Ali Abbas Zafar

Solid: Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Zeeshan Ayyub, Sunil Grover

Score: 2 stars (out of 5)

It is not a good suggestion in any respect to mission politics as a sport – a mere battle of wits – when it’s really far more, an all-out conflict with and with out weapons. Tandav, created and directed by Ali Abbas Zafar for Amazon Prime Video, falls prey to this misplaced emphasis. The result’s a very tepid, spectacularly superficial internet collection that develops delusions of Shakespearean grandeur and believes it’s offering us a view of the innards of the world’s largest democracy. By a story of vaulting ambition and abject avarice.

Scripted by Gaurav Solanki (who wrote Article 15), Tandav dances to a usually facile Bollywood beat. It presents a cliched tackle power-crazy politicians that tells us nothing that we don’t already know. Homicide, blackmail and palace intrigue are the fulcrums of a plot woven round women and men who will cease at nothing to cling to their positions.

Saif Ali Khan, in his second internet collection (after the critically acclaimed Sacred Video games), is out of his depth right here as a result of the story has no actual sting. Taking part in Samar Pratap Singh, the scion of a political dynasty, the actor is diminished to holding forth on the character’s perceived misfortunes and the dynamics of democracy which have prevented him from turning into the Prime Minister of India regardless of all of the ethical help that he has obtained from his conspiratorial spouse, Ayesha (Sarah Jane Dias).

Khan is upstaged for essentially the most half by Dimple Kapadia within the guise of Anuradha Kishore, a super-ambitious lady who challenges the son of a three-time Prime Minister on his personal turf. She has her personal causes to be disillusioned with what her profession has yielded to this point and she or he hopes to obtain some recompense through her son cocaine-snorting Raghu (Paresh Pahuja) and her wily aide Maithili Sharan (Gauahar Khan).

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Tandav Overview: Saif Ali Khan in a nonetheless

Given the way in which Tandav kicks off – election day has ended and Devki Nandan (Tigmanshu Dhulia), Samar Pratap’s father, is predicted to win once more – the present raises expectations. Two cops on the website of a farmers’ agitation towards an order to amass their land for a chemical manufacturing unit are instructed by a political fixer to bump off three Muslim lads – Ayub, Saleem and Imran.

One of many trigger-happy cops is Manohar Thakur, the opposite is Ramjeet Chaudhary. These are pliable males with the precise names. They ask no questions earlier than doing the bidding of their political masters. Two of the boys, each farmers, are felled by their bullets.

The third, a college pupil in Delhi, escapes the encounter as a result of he’s summoned to the campus within the nick of time. However he’s immediately branded a terrorist for taking part within the farmer’s rally (sounds acquainted?), picked up from the college, and put in police custody. The scholars react and all hell breaks free.

Proper upfront Tandav addresses police highhandedness, intimidation of Muslim youth, misery amongst farmers and pupil unrest in a single sweep. Some hope is kindled. Are we about to witness a daringly radical present? Sadly, Tandav chickens out and loses its method rapidly. It turns right into a confused mess through which the exploration of the road between idealism and opportunism takes a backseat.

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Tandav Overview: Zeeshan Ayyub in a nonetheless

The nine-episode collection veers right into a palace of intrigues the place a strong politician and his son play a cat-and-mouse sport whereas an ally of the older man struggles to carry the steadiness. He fails. The actor taking part in the function of the ally, Kumud Mishra, is a robust presence within the first few episodes earlier than he vanishes utterly till he resurfaces briefly on the very finish.

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The present, too, by no means hits the precise rhythm, wending its method via a minefield of half-baked concepts which can be rendered utterly ineffectual by a directorial type that nixes any chance of the characters springing to life and making sense within the context of the bigger energy struggles which can be sought to be depicted.

The way through which Tandav blends historic truth with flights of fictive fancy doesn’t click on as a result of the present by no means rises above the pedestrian. One in every of many issues that works towards the collection is the casting. The actors who play the politicians and the scholar activists look extra like fashions – most of the forged members are real-life fashions – than dyed-in-the-wool avenue fighters.

And actors who might need added some heft to Tandav are saddled with sketchily delineated characters. The worst off on this regard are Sandhya Mridul within the function of a college professor and Annup Sonii as a Dalit politician ready for his second within the solar.

The title refers back to the upheavals triggered by disgruntled college students of an establishment named VNU (Vivekananda Nationwide College), the place a younger man named Shiva Shekhar (Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub) spearheads a motion geared toward securing azaadi from exploitation, privation and feudalism. Azaadi? The phrase doesn’t increase hackles right here the way in which it did in actuality not all that way back.

Within the fictional universe of Tandav, Shiva and his co-travellers clearly hark again to the tumult that a number of campuses – particularly JNU – have witnessed in recent times. The remainder of the collection is rooted in a very imaginary world. Samar Pratap feels he hasn’t been given his due by his father. The strikes he makes consequently sparks a whirlpool of chaos that stymies his ambitions. When you’ll be able to’t be king it’s higher to turn out to be a kingmaker, he decides.

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Tandav Overview: Sunil Grover in a nonetheless

Samar’s plans to stake his claims on the very best political workplace of the land faces opposition from his father’s closest political ally Gopal Das Munshi (Kumud Mishra) and Anuradha, who’s Devki Nandan’s fixed companion. Samar’s trusted hitman Gurpal Chauhan (Sunil Grover) makes certain that the iron all the time stays scorching sufficient for his boss to strike when the time is ripe.

Because the tussle for energy intensifies, Samar makes a bid to wean Shiva away from his leftist moorings and acquire management of the VNU campus the place he himself was a pupil chief a few years in the past. He enlists the assistance of a former classmate and a present professor, Jigar Sampath (Dino Morea), on this parallel mission.

Sadly, a majority of the Tandav characters are hopelessly underwritten. The extra fascinating ones have shady cores, not the least amongst them is Gurpal, who watches a religious guru’s present on tv and feeds his pet cat after each misdeed he commits. Sana Mir (Kritika Kamra), a lady from Kashmir who’s an affiliate of Shiva’s, has secrets and techniques that blow up in her face and push her right into a deep, darkish gap of deceit, betrayal, guilt and worry.

However little or no in the remainder of the present that’s as fascinating as Sana Mir’s story. Tandav is extra fluff than fury.

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