Tandav Review: Saif Ali Khan is out of his depth right here because the tale has no actual sting. He is upstaged for the most part by Dimple Kapadia in the guise of a super-ambitious woman who challenges the son of a three-time Prime Minister on his own turf.
Created by: Ali Abbas Zafar
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Zeeshan Ayyub, Sunil Grover
Rating: 2 stars (out of 5)
It is not a good idea in any respect to project politics as a recreation – a mere battle of wits – when it’s really much more, an all-out battle with and without 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 net series that develops delusions of Shakespearean grandeur and believes it’s providing us a view of the innards of the world’s largest democracy. Through a tale of vaulting ambition and abject avarice.
Scripted by Gaurav Solanki (who wrote Article 15), Tandav dances to a typically facile Bollywood beat. It presents a cliched tackle power-crazy politicians that inform us nothing that we do not already know. Homicide, blackmail, and palace intrigue are the fulcrums of a plot woven around men and women who will cease at nothing to cling to their positions.
Saif Ali Khan, in his second net sequence (after the critically acclaimed Sacred Video games), is out of his depth right here because the story has no actual sting. Taking part in Samar Pratap Singh, the scion of a political dynasty, the actor is reduced to holding forth on the character’s perceived misfortunes and the dynamics of democracy which have prevented him from changing into the Prime Minister of India despite all the moral help that he has obtained from his conspiratorial wife, Ayesha (Sarah Jane Dias).
Khan is upstaged for the most half by Dimple Kapadia in 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 career has yielded up to now and he or she hopes to obtain some recompense through her son cocaine-snorting Raghu (Paresh Pahuja) and her wily aide Maithili Sharan (Gauahar Khan).
Given the best way 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 against an order to amass their land for a chemical factory 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 other is Ramjeet Chaudhary. These are pliable males with the correct names. They ask no questions earlier than doing the bidding of their political masters. Two of the boys, both farmers, are felled by their bullets.
The third, a university student in Delhi, escapes the encounter because he’s summoned to the campus within the nick of time. However he’s instantly branded a terrorist for taking part within the farmer’s rally (sounds familiar?), picked up from the university, and put in police custody. The students react and all hell breaks free.
Proper upfront Tandav addresses police highhandedness, intimidation of Muslim youth, distress amongst farmers, and student 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 means shortly. It turns into a confusing mess in which the exploration of the road between idealism and opportunism takes a backseat.
The nine-episode series veers into a palace of intrigues the place a powerful politician and his son play a cat-and-mouse game while an ally of the older man struggles to carry the steadiness. He fails. The actor playing the function of the ally, Kumud Mishra, is a strong presence in the first few episodes before he vanishes fully till he resurfaces briefly on the very finish
The show, too, never hits the right rhythm, wending its means by a minefield of half-baked ideas which are rendered fully ineffectual by a directorial fashion that nixes any risk of the characters springing to life and making sense within the context of the larger power struggles that are sought to be depicted.
The manner in which Tandav blends historical fact with flights of fictive fancy doesn’t click as a result of the show never rises above the pedestrian. One of the many issues that work against the sequence is the casting. The actors who play the politicians and the student look extra like models – many of the solid members are real-life fashions – than dyed-in-the-wool avenue fighters.
And actors who might need to be added some heft to Tandav are saddled with sketchily delineated characters. The worst off in this regard is Sandhya Mridul within the function of a college professor and Annup Sonii as a Dalit politician ready for his second in the solar.
The title refers back to the upheavals triggered by disgruntled students of an institution named VNU (Vivekananda Nationwide College), the place a young man named Shiva Shekhar (Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub) spearheads a motion aimed at securing azaadi from exploitation, privation, and feudalism. Azaadi? The word doesn’t raise hackles right here the way it did in actuality not all that long ago.
Within the fictional universe of Tandav, Shiva and his co-travelers clearly hark again to the tumult that several campuses – especially JNU – have witnessed in recent times. The rest of the series is rooted in a totally imaginary world. Samar Pratap feels he hasn’t been given his due by his father. The moves he makes in consequence spark a whirlpool of chaos that stymies his ambitions. When you can’t be king it’s higher to become a kingmaker, he decides.
Samar’s plans to stake his claims on the very best political office 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 positive that the iron always stays hot enough for his boss to strike when the time is ripe.
Because the tussle for power intensifies, Samar makes a bid to wean Shiva away from his leftist moorings and acquire control of the VNU campus the place he himself was a scholar chief a few years ago. He enlists the help 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 interesting ones have shady cores, not the least among them is Gurpal, who watches a spiritual 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 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 rest of the present that’s as attention-grabbing as Sana Mir’s story. Tandav is more fluff than fury.