Tandav review: Clichéd Bollywood hangover kills this Saif Ali Khan-starrer political saga

Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, featuring a stellar cast, it would be interesting to know what was the brief or vision followed while making the latest web series Tandav as a political saga.

Were they trying to present an Indianised version of the famous American political thriller House of Cards or just wished to quickly make an exciting series exploiting the recent developments in student-politics in India, relating it to the mainstream politicians? Whatever be the case, Tandav neither turns out to be anything even close to the American series nor is able to present the nexus between campus activities and nation’s politics in any convincing form. Tandav, with much of its resemblance to Amazon Prime’s Inside Edge — based on the backdrop of cricket, match fixing and the political interferences — fails in its entertaining presentation.

Despite being a highly-promoted series, Tandav keeps relying on some clichéd Bollywood twists and turns, most of them completely predictable just after the first episode, further killing the excitement. Tandav appears to be a story of opportunistic families craving for the power. The writing remains shallow as a political thriller and the direction keeps emphasising on the frames, looks and styling of the renowned faces presenting them as larger-than-life figures without any solid build-up. Besides, there are several characters introduced in the narration, however, with the lack of presentation of those characters, they remain mystery till the end.

With an ensemble cast of seasonal actors, the series can easily be described as a blunder, wherein just a few of them are able to make a decent impact on the viewers. Those names include Kumud Mishra, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Gauhar Khan, who sadly don’t have any major presence in the nine-episode series.

It all begins well, focusing on the farmers’ agitation and relating it to the students union along with introducing a powerful political figure and his over-ambitious son (Saif Ali Khan). However, the same characters soon start behaving in a clichéd manner as caricatures of what they could have been with some better writing.

Saif Ali Khan appears misfit playing his character without any variations in the entire series. Both Dimple Kapadia and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub are the victims of poor characterisation. Sunil Grover keeps trying his best but his performance gets seriously affected by the dialogues and the tone he is made to speak in. In addition, the supporting cast including Anup Soni, Sandhya Mridhul, Kritika Kamra among others are simply wasted.

In all, Tandav isn’t the series as projected by its makers. It could have been a much better political thriller with some powerful writing. In its present form it fails to deliver on its promises.

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