Evaluation: ‘Tandav’ Dances To A Facile Bollywood Beat

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

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

Created by: Ali Abbas Zafar

Forged: 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 venture politics as a sport – a mere battle of wits – when it’s really rather 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 net sequence 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 sometimes 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 net sequence (after the critically acclaimed Sacred Video games), is out of his depth right here as a result of the story has no actual sting. Enjoying Samar Pratap Singh, the scion of a political dynasty, the actor is lowered 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 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 girl 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 date 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).

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 in opposition to 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 correct 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 approach rapidly. It turns right into a confused mess through which the exploration of the road between idealism and opportunism takes a backseat.


The nine-episode sequence 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 stability. He fails. The actor taking part in the position of the ally, Kumud Mishra, is a powerful presence within the first few episodes earlier than he vanishes fully till he resurfaces briefly on the very finish.

The present, too, by no means hits the correct rhythm, wending its approach via a minefield of half-baked concepts which can be 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 bigger energy struggles which can be sought to be depicted.

The style through which Tandav blends historic reality with flights of fictive fancy doesn’t click on as a result of the present by no means rises above the pedestrian. Considered one of many issues that works in opposition to the sequence 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 road 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 position of a college professor and Annup Sonii as a Dalit politician ready for his second within the son.

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 aimed toward securing azaadi from exploitation, privation and feudalism. Azaadi? The phrase doesn’t elevate hackles right here the best way 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 sequence is rooted in a very imaginary world. Samar Pratap feels he hasn’t been given his due by his father. The strikes he makes because of this sparks a whirlpool of chaos that stymies his ambitions. When you may’t be king it’s higher to turn into a kingmaker, he decides.

Samar’s plans to stake his claims on the 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 attention-grabbing ones have shady cores, not the least amongst them is Gurpal, who watches a non secular guru’s present on tv and feeds his pet cat after each misdeed he commits. Sana Mir (Kritika Kamra), a woman 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 attention-grabbing as Sana Mir’s story. Tandav is extra fluff than fury.

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