CAT Review: Randeep Hooda-starrer is binge-worthy despite not breaking any new grounds

An intriguing and compelling thriller

Troy RibeiroUpdated: Friday, December 09, 2022, 10:39 PM IST
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A still from CAT |

Title: CAT

Directors: Balwinder Singh Janjua, Rupinder Chahal, Jimmy Singh
Cast: Randeep Hooda, Abhishant Rana, Suvinder Vicky, Pramod Pathak, Geeta Agrawal, Gurinder Makna, Hasleen Kaur, and others

Streaming on: Netflix

Rating: ****
 
With complex characters thrown into a realistic but masala plot that includes few Punjabi songs, CAT is an intriguing and compelling thriller.
This bilingual, Punjabi-Hindi binge-worthy series, despite not breaking any new ground, showcases the hard reality that plagues Punjab.

Set in Sialgarh, the series shows a web of intrigues. From terrorism in the early 1980s to the war between drug cartels for control of the region, along with conspiracies, betrayals, brutal murders, corruption in the police force, and the dream of every Punjabi to settle in Canada.

This eight-episode series bookends with a scene of a drug carrier crossing the borders to procure the forbidden substance, and between these two scenes, we are introduced to a turban-clad Gary aka Gurnam Singh, whose personal tragedies force him to be an informant of his well-wisher, the police officer Sehtab Singh (Suvinder Vicky).

It is only years later, when Gurnam’s younger brother Sunny (Danish Sood), is arrested in a drug bust, he approaches Sehtab Singh for help. Gurnam is inadvertently dragged into a mission to save the state from the drug menace, or so he thinks.

The melodramatic plot tells us how Gurnam infiltrates the sitting MLA Madam Aulakh’s inner circle to expose her source of wealth and instead lands up exposing the shame and scandal in her family. In the process, it also unravels some bitter truths in his own home.

Detailing the lives of the characters; the plot weaves together a taut, gripping narrative. It highlights the complexities of the characters and the flavour of the land.

Diving deep into the skin of the character, it is Abhishant Rana’s intense performance as the young Gary that helps Randeep slip into the boots of Gurnam Singh with ease. Both are outstanding in their respective roles, as they leave an indelible mark on the screen.

Equally impressive are; Suvinder Vicky, who essays the role of Gurnam’s handler Sehtab Singh, Hasleen Kaur as the Police Constable Babita, Pramod Pathak as Sehtab’s second in command Inspector Chandan Kumar, Geeta Agrawal as MLA Aulakh, Sukhwinder Chahal as the Gurnam’s slimy cousin Mukhtyar Singh, and the rest of the cast. There couldn’t have been a better casting.

Mounted with ace production values, Manohar Verma’s choreography of the action sequences is flawless; the chase, fights, and shootouts are spellbindingly thrilling.

Similarly, DOP Arvind Krishna’s cinematography, Editor Umesh Gupta’s edit, and Ajay P.B’s Sound Design elevate Ranjit Singh and Prerna Kathuria’s Production Design and play a significant part in the series’ flamboyantly dramatic canvas.

The series ends on a cliffhanger promising the next season, for which I am eagerly waiting.

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