By Joginder Tuteja
It was a thrilling week for the OTT medium with as many as three web series belonging to this genre in the running. These were A Simple Murder, Bicchoo Ka Khel and Mum Bhai. While the first in the list played on Sony LIV, the other two were on ZEE5 and ALT Balaji.
A Simple Murder turned out to be the surprise of the season. An ensemble affair with Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Priya Anand as the key protagonists along with Sushant Singh and Amit Sial in principle roles, this one is a dark comedy with a murder going wrong. What is special about this 7 episode series is the humorous undertones that it carries right through its duration. With each of the episodes lasting close to 30 minutes each, it is also a quick-fire affair as the overall duration is just around 3 hours.
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The web series is about a financially struggling couple who get a chance to get hold of a bag containing 5 crores. However, there are also two assassins after this moolah, with a guru-cum-goon, Yashpal Sharma, as the man behind all the mayhem. A comedy of error ensues with mistaken identities, good turning bad, bad turning good, saviors turning enemies, enemies turning saviors, and money exchanging hands from one episode to the next.
It is impressive to see how director Sachin Pathak has changed the whole grammar of storytelling when compared to Rangbaaz Phir Se. While the Jimmy Sheirgill and Sharad Klkar starrer was rustic affair, this one with Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and Priya Anand as the modern day couple is a cosmopolitan affair with the kind of narrative that reminds of Rajat Kapoor school of filmmaking. For the big city audiences, this one makes for a breezy watch.
The other two web series, Bicchoo Ka Khel and Mum Bhai, were centered on crime as well. While former has a Banaras setting to it, latter has Mumbai as its base. For Divyendu Sharma, it is pretty much a double bill affair with Mirzapur 2 followed by Bicchoo Ka Khel. This time around the actor leads the show as he goes about solving the murder of his father. Though one would have expected a serious take on affairs, what works in this Ekta Kapoor production is the fact that there is a good dose of humor interspersed right through the narrative.
Of course, as is the case with most OTT affairs, this one too is laden with expletives as well as love making scenes, hence one needs to watch with caution. However, for the audiences in the interiors who like their shows to be fast paced with running entertainment right through the narrative, this Ashish R. Shukla (Undekhi, which has arrived on Sony LIV) directed 9 episode series (that last 15-20 minutes each) turns out to be a ‘masala’ watch.
Same holds true for Mum Bhai as well which is a dramatic action thriller set on the lines of Shootout franchise from the house of Ekta Kapoor. The man who directed the first in the series, Shootout at Lokhandwala, Apoorva Lakhia, is one of the writers of Mum Bhai which has Angad Bedi and Sikandar Kher coming together. Considering the retro feel of the series, there is a lot of dialogue-baazi in there, which again works for the masses. In Bollywood parlance, this would have made for an engaging single screen affair.
Directed by Akshay Choubey, the man behind Code M [Jennifer Winget, Tanuj Virwani, Rajat Kapoor] which had released earlier this year on ZEE5, Mum Bhai maintains good production values, especially the cinematography, during the 12 episodes that last around 20 minutes each. Yet again, there are expletives galore, which means it is primarily for mature audiences.
Coming up next
In the times when ZEE5 and ALT Balaji are coming up with the maximum number of offerings, there is Dark 7 White that arrives on 24th November at both the platforms. Yet again, it’s the thriller genre which is being explored, and this one has a lot of dramatic elements in there as well with good dose of suspense as well as humor.
The series promises to be intriguing as it narrates the tale of the young Chief Minister [Sumeet Vyas] who gets murdered. The officer in charge of the investigation is Jatin Sarna who has a job in hand to round up seven suspects who make it to the top of the list. Nidhi Singh, who has been quite prolific on the OTT medium in the last couple of years, is a key protagonist as well in this web series which has been directed by Sattwik Mohanty. One waits to see what does he have to offer in his maiden web series offering.
Joginder Tuteja is a trade expert and film critic, and loves to talk and write about anything that is related to films. Views are personal.