Tandav, the recent Saif Ali Khan starrer political drama is now streaming on Amazon Prime. In its attempt to try to blend in some very recent events in the Indian political landscape with bollywood masala this Ali Abbas Zafar production turns out to be a controversial one, and gives an already seen vibe.
Samar Pratap (Saif) is son of a 3 term Indian Prime Minister, Devaki Nandan (Tigmanshu) but is totally opposite to his father in ideologies and way of working. Devaki, with his close aide Gopal Das (a brilliant Kumud Mishra) and Anuradha Kishore (Dimple Kapadia) is on the verge of winning another election.
As the results day come near, tensions begin to rise for the allocation of major portfolios in cabinet. Amidst the chaos, with everyone trying to pitch in for important portfolios (be it Anuradha’s son, or Samar’s best buddies, or the important partymen), Samar poisons his father.
Tandav then takes a turn with everyone trying to fit in the changed dynamics. On one hand where Samar, Gopal Das and Anuradha all are trying their best to be the next PM, on the other there is another chaos building up in a university (funnily named as VNU) in Delhi.
A group of students are arrested for anti government/anti national slogans and a few of them are missing, which forces one of its students Shiva (Zeeshan Ayub, in a role based on Kanhaiya Kumar) to raise his voices against police and government, goes viral and is now the new face of student politics.
Samar, with his close associate/hitman Gurpal (Sunil Grover) ensures that the situation worsens and taking advantage of it tries to be the King maker in Indian politics.
A parallel track also has Sana (Kritika Kamra) as another VNU Student and Shiva’s aide, who is in a relationship with his professor Jigar (Dino Morea).
The show then goes on showing many recent events which we have witnessed (JNU, Farmer Agitation) and with everyone trying to get their share of pie in this political circus Tandav concludes its Season 1 leaving almost every subplot open for Season 2.
Tandav, being a big budget show, has very good production values and looks very grand. The background music is good and the song from Yuva gives a nostalgic feel.
The casting of the show is very good with Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Zeeshan Ayubb, Kumud Mishra and Sunil Grover to name a few.
The performances of almost all the major characters is good which is one of the few positives for the show.
Tandav starts strongly with a decent relatable plot, but soon fades away trying to include too many recent events than it can manage. None of the subplots is properly developed and everything seems to be going ahead illogically.
Along with the predictability and staleness of the plot, there is a lack of logic which sometimes is baffling. Be it the death of a PM which goes uninvestigated, the way how PM’s secretary Maithili easily moves around Janpath’s high security area searching the dropboxes and dustbins without getting noticed.
One of the scenes has Zeeshan enacting Lord Shiva and abusing, which is now under fire from various groups, actually doesn’t have any relevance to the story of the show and adds to the nuisance value.
Tandav misses on keeping the audience hooked because of lack of unexpected twists, which were very much necessary for novelty, when you take up a familiar plot.
Tandav has a good starcast and few of them have given a good performance. Saif Ali Khan as Samar looks good, acts effectively and adds to the star value. He is excellent in most of the scenes, gives that evil vibe, but in some of the scenes falls short.
Dimple Kapadia is excellent as Anuradha Kishore and so is Kumud Mishra as Gopal Das. Zeeshan as Shiva starts with a bang, shows promise, but then somehow the performance fades away.
Sunil Grover as Gurpal is ok in a bit illogically written role, but somehow it’s tough to find him menacing, thanks to his roles as gutthi and Dr Gulati. His role is pretty one dimensional and hopefully it will be explored in next season.
Tigmanshu is ok as Devaki, but still stuck in his Ramadhir Singh mode. Dino Morea, Sandhya Mridul, Anup Soni, Sarah Jane Dias, Kritika Kamra all are ok in their performances.
Tandav overall is a classic case of missed opportunities. A big budgeted show, with a group of talented and known actors, backed by a big production house and a lot of references and incidents to incorporate, had huge scope.
But it turns out to be a bit lengthy and dull with a lot of controversial points which though can get some attention but poor treatment makes it a boring watch.