Ray REVIEW: Manoj Bajpayee steals the show; Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor gravitates the spotlight on him in this Netflix anthology
Web Series: Ray
Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Gajraj Rao, Ali Fazal, Shweta Basu Prasad, Anindita Bose, Kay Kay Menon,
Bidita Bag, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Harshvardhan Kapoor, Radhika Madan, Chandan Roy Sanyal,
Akansha Ranjan Kapoor
Directors: Srijit Mukherji, Abhishek Chaubey, Vasan Bala
Ray is based on gripping stories by the works of renowned filmmaker Satyajit Ray. Ray is a tribute to the ace filmmaker, but while some hit the bullseye, some missed the spot just by a minute. Ray is based on Barin Bhowmik-er Byaram, Bahurupi, Bipin Chowdhury’s Smritibhrom and Spotlight. Talking about Forget Me Not, Ali Fazal has done a spectacular job as Ipsit Nair. Ipsit is a young and dynamic CEO of a company that is at the top of the game. With a memory of a computer, Ipsit can remember just about anything ‘that he wants to’. So when a man who knows his Pan Card number at the back of his hand forgets his week-long rendezvous with a gorgeous stranger, Ipsit finds himself in deep dark waters with no way home. Ali has done absolute justice to the smooth transition of being a borderline egotistical CEO to an ordinary man suffering to remember his way home. From lost newborns in theatres to lost memories in caves, you will be on your toes throughout. The cinematography is spot on and Srijit Mukherji’s excellent direction comes through seamlessly. Shweta Basu Prasad needs to be given a special mention, she did an excellent job with the unexpected Maggie.
Next up was, Bahrupiya which starred Kay Kay Menon as Indrashish in the titular role. The whole plot revolved around being a man who is tired of living a life of a nobody. A nobody to his employer, a nobody to his lover and a nobody to the rest of the world. But for me, it mostly boiled down to being all about ‘be careful what you wish for’. While Menon’s character does find the treasure to his happiness, it becomes more of a pandora’s box for him. The only thrill in Bharupiya was Indrahsish’s visits to a fakir who could read right through him literally. The story was set in Kolkata and while the cinematography, Kay Kay Menon and other actors worked just fine, yet Bahrupiya seemed a bit too oversimplified for a story that had a lot of dept.
Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa is hands down the winner out of the four anthologies as it is a heartwarming ride through the life of ghazal singer Musafir Ali who suffers through Kleptomania or Kilepato-maaniya as they say. Musafir crosses paths with Gajraj Rao, who plays a very famous wrestler and the two can’t seem to shake the feeling that they know each other. Their encounter is not just a reminder of lost memories but also of lost destinys. The execution by Bajpayee and Rao along with Abhishek Chaubey’s direction is just spot on. The screenplay by Niren Bhatt will leave you in splits at time. The Urdu dialect by the actors is spot on. Right from the start, there is mystery needing to be unravelled thread by thread and you can’t help but keep count till the end.
Last on the list is Spotlight that stars Harsh Varrdhan Kapoor playing a famous actor Vik who is known for his ‘look’. So what happens when he loses the ‘look’ which is the x-factor and it does not make his fans go crazy anymore. He is being dropped out of brand deals and movies one after another all because of a ‘Didi’, a religious idol followed by the whole nation. Stuck in a hotel with ‘Didi’, Vik can’t seem to function properly with the blue colour being rubbed in his eyes at every glance. Soon he begins to question his superficial fame and the effect of his ‘look’. While all he wants to do is run away from this Didi, he finds solace with her. Radhika Madan is sure a surprise factor in Spotlight and she is a welcome entry as a Gen Z influencer who has the nation revolving on her fingers. The Spotlight sure was on Kapoor and he nailed the cult character right in the perfect spot. The hilarious yet gripping portrayal of the struggle of a new age star will make you laugh yet empathise. Harsh Varrdhan stole the show as he asked, “Are you a puddle or a sea?“. His trippy take on having the divinity to pierce through the camera to his fans is appealing. Vasan Bala’s direction comes through beautiful and Spotlight is a good addition to Ray.
The verdict really comes down to a 50-50 choice, while one will love Hungama Hai Kyon Barpa, Forget Me Not and Spotlight, Bahrupiya will struggle to leave the impact.
You can watch Ray on Netflix.