Old 'whine' in new bottle

Old 'whine' in new bottle

Telly Review

Old 'whine' in new bottle
How lovely and pleasant it must be on a cloudy, drab morning, while you are mindlessly clicking and typing away to ennui, to receive an unexpected phone call from a college friend who coaxes you into turning up for a class reunion (and this is a class that graduated only three years ago, mind you) a few thousand kilometres away? Pretty heartwarming and reassuring, right? Well, that’s where you are wrong.

If you’re wondering why, here is one explanation. The receiver of the phone call (the bored Indian male, mid-20s, acquiesces to everything under a little pressure, having no specific or too many aims in life himself) is threatened in a friendly manner by the caller (clearly female, mid-20s, enjoys male attention, knows how to kill with sweetness), and asked “whether he would come to the reunion by himself or whether she would have to drag him by the collar.”

This situation induces from me the same amount of indignation and skepticism that I felt when Imraan (Farhan Akhtar) throws Arjun’s (Hrithik Roshan’s) phone out of the car during their road trip in Spain in the Bollywood movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. This is a classic (and rather dramatised) example of how most Indians fail to draw boundaries and define space in friendship equations. Well, a little too harsh and judgmental as that may be, it is true, nonetheless.

This is how Kirdaar, a new web series by Begaana Pictures on YouTube, opens. Added to this are the angsty lives of 25-year-olds who are ‘stuck’ in dead-end jobs and want to quit them to pursue their ‘passion’ (acting, one can only presume, in this case). I mean, really, how much can we watch of Manic Pixie Dream Girls organising parties, getting hit on by older male professors and being addressed as saali (only affectionately, of course, we get it) by their male friends?

And what’s more, while the acting prowess of many actors could use some honing, some concepts itself are very nebulous in the initial stages. For instance, ‘the idea’ that the characters keep talking about is a theme that is thrown around too much without offering any explanations, testing the viewer’s patience a wee bit. It seems somewhat like the grand idea that was in the creator’s mind did not scale just as magnificently on screen. Also, the course of the show makes one wonder what (or who) its target group really is.

Kirdaar would have been a perfect fit to the youth entertainment arena a few years ago (in the 2006-2013 period), but it seems to be a little behind times now. Especially in recent times, after the country having seen some real winners in Pitchers, Band Baaja Baarat etc, this would pale in comparison overall, but may strike a chord with some young hearts.

And if we think about it, there are substantial reasons as to why all such shows did well. And what exactly were those? Well, for starters, they had context (setting something realistic in the present day), relevance (themes that were topical), relatability (a sense of similarity to what youth in the country are indulging in) and simplicity (a lack of elaborate lines and settings, without compromising on the profundity). Also, that they all had less drama and more substance was what helped them gain a foothold in that space.

Kirdaar, at least initially, does not seem to have much of that. It attempts to balance the gravitas of a movie such as Dil Chahta Hai, the coolness of millennials and new-format dramatisation through some intense and trite dialogues, which do not seem to produce the effect they intended for it to.
Having said all that though, you might want to watch Kirdaar, if you are under 25, deal with below average existential crisis, have some extra time on your hand and dig entertainment that is not too refined.
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