Tandav Review: Saif Ali Khan disappoints while Sunil Grover stands out in this pedestrian Ali Abbas Zafar political drama
Ali Abbas Zafar
Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar, Bhaumik Gondaliya
Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Kumud Misra, Annup Sonii, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Sarah Jane Dias, Kritika Kamra, Gauahar Khan, Kritika Avasthi, Tasneem Khan, Dino Morea, Sandhya Mridul, Shonali Nagrani, Amyra Dastur
Bollywood Bubble Rating
What’s It About
Tandav is a story that happens in the capital city of the world’s largest democracy, New Delhi, where it takes you inside the closed, chaotic doors of power and manipulation and uncover the darkest lanes of Indian politics. Who will end up getting seated on the chair of the Prime Minister of India? Will it be the good guys getting the chair of the PM? Or will the corrupt-yet-powerful end up beating all odds and coming out victorious in the manipulation game? Well, for that you’ll have to watch the show.
Sunil Grover excels in pretty much every frame. While there is no doubt in anyone’s minds that he is a fantastic actor and performer, but this time, he emboldens his prowess in the serious genre. People may think that Sunil is the best when it comes to comedy, he is, but he also is a class apart when it comes to giving a shiver-inducing performance as a political henchman. Tandav is a fine example of that.
Tigmanshu Dhulia may have a smaller screen space in the web-series, but he is the only one in the entire scheme of things who embodies the spirit of an Indian politician. The dialect, the body-language and to add to that the facial expression he comes up with makes you actually take him as a politician seriously.
Sandhya Mridul and Gauahar Khan are another two women who should be seen onscreen more often than they actually do. They have smaller parts, but they stand out in the minimum screen time they have as they have portrayed their characters in a pretty powerful manner. Surely they stand apart.
The portions of the web-series which have been shot at the Pataudi Palace do look grand and that’s a saving grace for the cinematography department. The shots look larger-than-life and help very much in setting up the mood for a good political chaotic messy drama.
Saif Ali Khan is not just a pretty face, and he can act without a care in the world. However, Tandav is no Sacred Games. More than a Prime Minister to be, he looks at peace as a royal (which he is in real life). But somehow in the show it shouldn’t have had been shown that way. It was an overall Saif Ali Khan show throughout but somehow it seemed that the entire project shouldn’t have had been rested on his shoulders, and some of the other characters should have been given more of the burden.
Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub is stuck in that student politician or rather a ‘krantikari’ look for a really long time. He seriously needs to get out of that and do something else. I can understand the fact that he might be getting these parts offered more as he is so damn good at them, but I have had too much of him playing pretty much similar characters in almost all the films. It was a welcome change to see him in A Simple Murder, where he did have something better to showcase.
Stellar character artistes like Dimple Kapadia, Kumud Mishra, Annup Sonii, Kritika Kamra, Shonali Nagrani, Dino Morea, etc were reduced to pretty small roles, which weren’t even that impactful in the changing of the storyline. Same with Amyra Dastur and Sara Jane Dias who barely have much to show off even for their real-life portfolios. Sad!
What hurts the most if the writing and the direction of Tandav by Ali Abbas Zafar. From being held at a pedestal as a great political drama which people had been waiting for over a year and a half, it was turned to be a potboiler political drama which had every trick in the rule book to make a successful political story. Even Prakash Jha has moved on from this genre and started making other things with a similar backdrop, as it is hardly much you can explore in this genre further. Ali Abbas Zafar’s story has a plot which is predictable, to say the least. Every twist and turn which you can think of will be proven correct, and there is no iota of a surprise coming your way – well expect Sunil Grover’s standout performance. Not only that, the writing at some points are so mundane and pedestrian that it changes real-life scenarios of farmer’s protest, students union protest etc very little. That’s why it somehow veers into the zone of having had seen the things millions of times on the TV news channels for the past 5-6 years. Even someone living under a rock would have heard the slogans of ‘Azaadi’ being vocalised at the JNU (which has been tweaked to VNU – like Wow!).
Tandav could have been the pick for your week, but sadly, it doesn’t stand worthy of the enormous hype that had been built up around it for such a long time. Baring aside a Sunil Grover and a Tigmanshu Dhulia, there is hardly much to look forward to in this. I am grossly disappointed as I was actually looking forward to this one since long, as our industry has really less to be proud of in this genre. Tandav can possible just be a ONE-TIME WATCH. I am going with 2 stars.