Shantanu (Abhay Deol) is a high-ranking personnel associated with the CBI. He is asked to look into a case of a plane which has been hijacked. Typically, the CBI wouldn’t intervene, however, since there are eight political delegates involved, Shantanu has been asked to take over. There is information on a missing flight, but on reaching the place the officials learn that it isn’t the flight they are looking for. Instead, they find JL50 — a flight which went missing 35 years ago. Assumed to have crashed since there were no survivors, except a scientist and a pilot named Beehu (Ritika Anand). Shantanu thinks all this has been planted, but the fact is he caught in the time travel capsule.
India has only a handful of titles that circumvent around time travel — Priyanka Chopra starrer- romance-sci-fi film ‘2050 A Love Story’ is one of them. But, the film was panned by critics and audiences — romance and science don’t exactly go hand in hand. But, JL50 is very realistic! The narrative leaves the viewer gazing open-mouthedly at the screen. The series has no romance angle, rather delves into the depth of history and science, delivering to its viewers a fantastical sci-fi that has an international flavour. While the series comes with a lot of pluses, there is a flip side too. The explanation given on time travel is slightly convoluted. After all, delivering fictionalised truth is an art by itself.
The most fascinating aspect of Abhay Deol is he invests only as much as the role demands. He advantageously uses his body language and words to highlight the importance of the character played by him. In JL50, Shantanu’s character is more pronounced when curiosity gets the better off him. This renders greater depth to the series. His controlled energy levels balances the equilibrium of the entire plot.
Professor Mitra (Piyush Mishra) is a genius scientist who cracks the code to ‘Project A’. The Project involves a formula which enables travel time. It’s taken him years of research to attain that. While essaying the part of Prof Mitra, Piyush Mishra has displayed that innate madness that we often witness in the most passionate scientists. He has literally absorbed himself into the role, and plays the part with great conviction. He proved his versatility yet again after playing JD in the series ‘Illegal’.
Pankaj Kapur transcends between shades of grey with great ease. He plays the part of Prof Das, a Physics enthusiast and an assistant of Professor Mitra. When he gets into character, there is a sharp difference that he produces in his voice, which becomes more pronounced, when he’s neck deep into playing the part. We have seen such a side to Pankaj Kapoor in the film ‘Dus’ in which he played Jambwal, the notorious criminal.
Ritika Anand plays an integral part in the story. She is the pilot of the flight JL50 that was lost 35 years ago. But, her part has been considerably dulled down. She needs to let go and allow herself to explore the woman from the 80s who is in a comfortable space as she has a career of her own.
Overall a refreshing take on time travel and a must-watch for stage enthusiasts who cherish method acting.
Name of the Series: JL50
Number of episodes: 4
Cast: Abhay Deol, Ritika Anand, Pankaj Kapur, Piyush Mishra, Rajesh Sharma
Director/writer: Shailender Vyas