'Sunflower' review: Sunil Grover leads the thoroughly enjoyable dark comedy
When a resident of a posh Mumbai apartment society named Sunflower says, "This is a weird society," her neighbor solemnly replies, "The whole world is a weird society." This seems to be Vikas Bahl's underlying message behind his latest ZEE5 eight-part series Sunflower. His aim is to uncover every hypocrisy in our society, while a murder just acts as its catalyst. Here's our review.
Audience knows who the murderer is from the get-go
The exposition is beautifully shot, as we see Raj Kapoor (Ashwin Kaushal), owner of apartment number 1001, getting murdered to the tune of a suspense-filled melody. Sunflower is not a whodunit. It presents dramatic irony, where the audience knows who the murderer is, while the police lose their minds over it. The "losing their mind" bit is mostly contributed by Sonu Singh (Sunil Grover).
Grover plays Singh, a Sheldon Cooper-like clean-freak perfectionist
Singh is an oddball, who is extremely lonely and pitiably creepy at times. He resembles another clean-freak, perfectionist fictional character: Sheldon Cooper (of The Big Bang Theory). It is some of Singh's obsessive-compulsive acts that keep painting a guilty picture for him. Grover, tasked to lead the series and its absurdities, is masterly funny and does not overstep the drama quotient. Thankfully!
Grover impresses again with his versatility after 'Tandav'
Speaking about his character, Grover had said earlier, "Sonu has many moods and shades. Sometimes he is a loner, sometimes he is out in public. It was a challenge but it got sorted." With this performance, the 43-year-old has definitely added another feather after Tandav.
Characters represent shrewd reality via colored glasses of black comedy
The additional cast is a representation of the shrewd reality seen through colored glasses of black comedy. There is Ahuja (Mukul Chadda), a faux-well-mannered professor, who conveniently takes out his frustration on his wife. We have the annoying self-appointed flagbearer of "culture" Dilip Iyer (Ashish Vidyarthi). Donning high-power glasses, Ranvir Shorey's Inspector Digendra is collected, while sub-inspector Chetan Tamble (Girish Kulkarni) is deliberately filmy.
First season concludes with cliffhanger, season two expected; gets 4/5
Sunflower signifies loyalty and trust, but no one is trustworthy in its eponymous building. Co-directed by Bahl and Rahul Sengupta, the series is not devoid of faults, but the overall experience makes it worthwhile. We look forward to getting answers to many loose ends in the next season, as the first concludes with a cliffhanger. Verdict: 4 out of 5 bytes.