The eight-episode series opens with a coconut seller riding a bicycle and leading us to a housing society in Mumbai called Sunflower. The series explores the intertwining lives of the residents of the residential complex. The dependence of upper middle class India on workers like the coconut man, the maid and the guard, who are often overlooked, is emphasised.
Sunflower follows a nonlinear narrative and breaks away from a slew of crime series, which build the intrigue by not revealing the murderer until the very end. Rather, this series, helmed by Queen director Vikas Bahl, reveals the murder (you have to watch the show to know who it is) to the audience within first few minutes of the start. The thrill lies in the cops experiencing a wild goose chase. You are torn between shouting at the cops onscreen in exasperation for missing out clues placed in plain sight to aggravate viewers and sitting with baited breath as the cops inch towards the murderer at snail’s pace.
The director of photography, Sudhakar Reddy Yakkanti, introduces Mumbai through a drone shot. The city is captured in its true essence — narrow gully of chawls brimming with energy, flashy clubs with people grooving to the popular Marathi song Zingaat, and the dying breed of the kaali peeli taxis.
However, the film’s vivacity shines through its cast and the insistence of each character to grow through the series. Stand-up comedian and actor, Sunil Grover (who plays Sonu Singh) makes you laugh with his naivety. He becomes an easy suspect owing to his inability to read the room. Dilip Iyer (played by Ashish Vidyarthi) wants to create a society with Indian culture and dubs himself the guardian of the society fending it from anyone who doesn’t fit into the standards of Indian sanskaar. New residents of the building are scrutinised as if one is taking admission to an elite college. Ranvir Shorey, who plays the police inspector, commands the room with his piercing gaze. Chetan Tambe, played by Girish Kulkarni, is under Shorey’s tutelage and is shown as a typical Mumbai cop. Dayana Erappa plays the role of the sultry next-door neighbour, who faces the trials and tribulations of a woman whose indemnity isn’t defined by her marital status.
But it is the murderer who steals the show. It is his deceptive innocence that makes him despicable. He relives the fights with his neighbor with an unapologetic laugh. He is dismissive of his wife (played by Radha Bhatt). It is not until the very end that Mrs Ahuja realises she holds the strings and leverages the storyline in her favour. The series makes you feel like you are an accomplice to the murder, it lures you and makes you stick till the end.
Cast: Sunil Grover, Mukul Chadda, Ranvir Shorey, Girish Kulkarni, and others
Director: Vikas Bahl