Tepid Tandav

There may be a lot of hype about this Saif Ali Khan web series, that is currently streaming on Amazon Prime; but the first episode itself sinks into a no-show. I love political dramas and am quite into the fourth, less famous Mr Khan too, when I think of his stellar performances in some films, but this particular series which had me waiting with bated breath, turned into a huge disappointment.

Slow. Rasping. Tedious. Tandav moves at the pace of a snail, with heavy laboured, scenes that remind one more of a theater act than a slick web series that it is supposed to be. Creator Ali Abbas Zafar, better known for his super hits Sultan and Tiger Zinda Hai, among others, seem to have struck a silly, unreal and frivolous chord with this supposedly serious drama on Indian politics.

Saif Ali Khan seems paralyzed as he tries hard, but not very hard, to essay the role of Shakespeare’s Macbeth who has no compunctions about murdering his father to get to the PMs throne. As a script, perhaps this was a dream role and a dream series; but what translates on screen is a lacklustre ensemble cast of actors who fail at getting into the spirit of the drama.

The only major surprise is our favorite comedian, Sunil Grover, who looks and acts every inch, the fixer of problems, Gurpal Chauhan, in his thick guttural voice and deadpan expression. He’s excellent.
So is Mohd Zeeshan Ayub as the firebrand student leader from the fictional VNU, clearly modelled on our own JNU. Even veteran TV actress Kritika Kamra does an excellent job.

As for Dimple Kapadia, as the lover of the dead PM, Devki Nandan, played by filmmaker Tigmanshu Dhulia, the less said the better.
Maybe it is the fault of the script writer, maybe the dialogue writer or whoever but this show can make an insomniac curl into bed and sleep like a baby.

The scenes seem ludicrous as the son plots the death of the father, with a lot of people, including news reporters and doctors, in the know how of his nefarious plan. There is no finesse in the execution of the dastardly deed and no honesty in Saif’s acting, which renders Tandav, a damp squib. The show in a nutshell is as boring as Indian politics really is.

I would prefer a House Of Cards or a Designated Survivor anyday.

There’s certainly no desi pride here.

Watch at your peril.

Ends

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