'Tandav' review: A predictable yet addictive show
Ambition comes with its shades of grey. Even as it tells one to dream big, it might as well turn them oblivious. A similar fate meets Tandav, the new Amazon Prime Video series that's got apparently everyone talking, for reasons that are both good and bad. Ali Abbas Zafar has directed this one with pride but astonishingly little sharpness and depth. Here's our review.
A cocktail of national politics and campus activism
Tandav attempts to cook a cliched yet promising cocktail of national-level politics and campus activism. Samar Pratap Singh (Khan), an ambitious politician and the son of a three-time Prime Minister Devki Nandan (Tigmanshu Dhulia), kills his father on the eve of election results to inherit power. Meanwhile, a handful of idealistic students at a national university enter campus politics to fight for the truth.
So ambitious, it's suicidal
A mere glimpse at the show's tremendous star cast makes it clear that Tandav was supposed to be a big deal. In fact, it is evident right from the beginning that the series is extremely ambitious. But as said, that quality comes with its shortcomings. It is so drowned in ambition that virtually every crucial aspect has been overlooked by the makers.
Huge promises, little execution
Tandav has its moments, but it never quite takes off the way it should. Its actual impact happens in a scattered and inconsistent manner, which is distracting and disappointing, given the huge promises it makes. Plus, there are no surprises, the story plays out just the way you expect it to, which is nothing short of shameful given the resources it is blessed with.
Fortunately, it's not a total sham
Having said that, there is something that keeps you from dropping out. To contradict my own words, despite its predictability - Tandav is still pretty addictive. And for that, a meaty part of the credit goes to its amazingly brilliant performances. In spite of the project's naive writing and paper-thin depth, the actors stay committed to thrill and entertain you.
Saif Ali Khan is the (dark) soul of this drama
Saif Ali Khan pulls off an act that is both admirable and intimidating. With a sardonic half-smile and a sense of restlessness in his eyes, he casts a spell on the viewer. Even when he is off the frame, his overshadowing presence can be felt. His performance is effortless to say the least, and borders on evil genius at places.
To watch or not to watch?
Tandav is marred by a cliched and impotent script, which is the biggest culprit behind its lost potential. But at the same time, it is blessed with some utterly juicy performances, which should be given a chance. To sum it up: Despite its superficial approach, the show is not half bad. Final rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.