The Test Case – First Episode Review

Series – The Test Case

Starring – Nimrat Kaur as Capt. Shikha Sharma, Atul Kulkarni as Ajinkya Sathe, Rahul Dev as Kripal Bhatti and Juhi Chawla in a special appearance as Defence Minister  Shraddha Pandit

Created by – Ekta Kapoor & Samar Khan

Written by – Nagesh Kukunoor & Mukul Srivastava {Screenplay} and Ishita Moitra {Dialogue}

Directed by –  Nagesh Kukunoor 

Platform – Alt Balaji

Produced by Endemol Shine India, the OTT platform recently launched by TV Czarina Ekta Kapoor finally streamed the first episode of the series that was inspired by a landmark verdict of President Pranab Mukherjee in 2016. Five days after it was supposed to be up. 

The Test Case, is Capt. Shikha Sharma’s journey to being the first woman to be successfully included in combat in the Indian Army as she gets honoured by the prestigious Maroon Beret, worn only by worn by the 50th Parachute Brigade, the President’s Body Guard, and the Special Forces Unit.

Shikha, a military intelligence officer has volunteered to be the first woman to try to get a place among the prestigious Special Forces Unit. And it is at this point that her journey begins.

The 41 minute long first episode is certainly the finest series premiere that has so far happened on the platform. 

The episode is tightly paced and crisply edited. The performances of the cast certainly makes you feel that they’ve done their homework. Juhi Chawla in a special appearance with a very Sushma Swaraj vibe was a delight to watch as this beautiful actress has been for far too long typecast as the bubbly girl next door and in recent times has been MIA, her last outing was Gulab gang, a movie which first chose to highlight her chops as antagonist. The highly talented and always dependable Atul Kulkarni once again in the matter of a few minutes proves why he’s Ajinkya and Rahul Dev finally seems to have a chance to play a character that might seem antagonistic but is not.

Nimrat, has been a treat for the eyes. Right from mannerisms to body language she embodies Shikha Sharma and slips into the skin of her character effortlessly. 

The episode was pitch perfect except for one scene with a cadet that was too long and too boring for me eventually and IMO could have been done without.  

Nagesh Kukunoor IMO has just landed with the first truly impressive series of the platform and I for one simply cannot wait for what’s next to come.

I would rate the series premiere episode of The Test Case a winning 4 out of 5. 

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Do two wrongs make a right? – thoughts on Bewafaa Si Wafaa 

Series – Bewafaa Sii Wafaa
Starring – Samir Soni as Sumer, Aditi Vasudev as Meghna, Dipannita as Nishqa and Yudhistir as Aditya.

Created by – Ekta Kapoor.

Written by – Vibha Singh.

Directed by – Ranjan Singh & Sonam Nair

Platform – Alt Balaji.

Episodes – 10

The Bhagavad Gita–that ancient Indian Yogic text–says that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.

Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

The premise – Most love stories end with the couple either getting together happily or dying; but what happens when the story begins with the couple already married – with other people.

Sumer and Meghna, meet under such circumstances. They’re married. To other people.

He has a picture perfect life on surface – a hugely successful business, an illustrious family, a beautiful wife and a little son. In short almost everything a man could want for. However the picture perfect life is empty as it could be; with the illustrious family having dark and ugly secrets of its own and the beautiful wife being too busy being vain and in ensuring her MIL is pleased with her at all times for future gains and benefits. 

Meghna on the other hand is in a marriage that she ended up in after a whirlwind romance which has lost its spark under the weight of everyday realities and responsibilities. Her police officer husband is more often than not too busy with his job and away from the home and wife mostly. After five years of marriage Meghna wants a child, to know the bliss of motherhood; experience the ultimate selfless love in all its glory but her husband citing their financial situation doesn’t share her views and wishes. A nagging mother in law (who thankfully doesn’t live with the couple all the time) and a not so happening career as an event organiser complete her set of problems.

It is in the midst of these conditions that a chance encounter makes Sumer and Meghna cross paths for the first time. Coincidence has them meet again and this time around they part after having shared a brief and spontaneous kiss. Mired with guilt and confusion the two meet again after a few attempts to avoid each other and failure at the same; wherein the duo is introduced to each other’s spouses as well. A conversation to put the kiss that shouldn’t have happened behind leads to the proposal of a friendship that ends with them in bed eventually however and from hereon begins the tale of two people who find love, happiness and laughter with each other even as their partners remain oblivious of their infidelities for a while.

The four lives however now twined together in one of the ugliest possible situations, land in an even bigger soup when their crossroads get tangled up in a mystery of a murder; the investigating officer for which is the jilted husband and the prime suspect the man with whom his wife cheated on him.

The verdict – Sumer and Meghna are not the kind of characters you can root for, for obvious moral reasons and yet you wonder is it really worth it to continue with a marriage that all things considered has them lonely…. but then again you feel is Abhi really so wrong in wanting financial stability before having a child or is Nishqa at fault completely for her and Sumer’s failing marriage, when he didn’t even once attempt to have an honest conversation with her and express his wishes and disappointments with her as he wished she’d magically understand the same all on her own without so much as a word from him…

This is certainly the assembly of the most flawed characters coming together and of the two Alt Balaji shows that I’ve yet seen, certainly the bolder one; with quite a few kissing scenes as well as love making scenes though none of them are graphic or explicit, you do see why this is a webseries and not something you would find on a GEC. The actors suit their parts yet there are times when the show is a little jarring.

Also I noticed it isn’t produced by the mother daughter duo of the Kapoors interestingly.

Similar to KTBM, I’d rate BSW no more than 2.5.

It’s very much apparent that though Balaji is possibly the biggest production house for TV shows in India, they’re struggling with the platform of webseries. The characters and stories look half-baked, they are yet to get comfortable with the format and hence are trying to pack in too much together which isn’t a good thing always.

It would be better if things instead of being dealt with in a haphazard and rushed manner were built organically and the characters allowed to come across as more real.

I certainly hope over a period of time, the platform finds itself eventually as competition in the streaming industry in India is certainly about to get tougher with Amazon Prime launching their original programming in India next year; created with international standards in mind, Netflix is bound to catch up sometime in the near future too as well as there’s possibility of other competition cropping up aside from the existing ones as it is.

Balaji certainly does not have the same budget as well as production values as Amazon and Netflix do have, however it’s their two decades worth of experience that they should capitalise on if they want to be in competition with them for a long time. Because eventually they’re their competition for better or worse and while viewers wouldn’t mind having the kind of content that is between Naagin and Narcos, they do have to find it in themselves to root for something to stay connected; which at this point is seriously missing from Balaji series.

Neither do their love stories seem to make a connection nor do they have a Pablo Escobar who’s rise and ultimate fall is a journey that provides you with the adrenaline rush that makes you want to watch it and keep on going.

Thoughts on Romil and Jugal Promo.

Years ago, when Dostana, the Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham and Priyanka Chopra KJo production released in India, the taboo subject of homosexuality found it’s exposure to conversations in the country – between families, friends and sometimes even complete strangers.

The movie was a blockbuster but it dealt with the subject in a manner that provoked humour more than lending gravity to the seriousness of the subject; homosexuals were shown in other movies following Dostana, however not always was the treatment sensitive; more often than not they were the comic relief which I believe is stereotyping these amazing people by branding them and categorising them all as similar.

Sometimes the subject was handled beautifully but didn’t garner the appreciation and attention it deserved, like in the case of Aligarh, the Manoj Bajpayee Rajkumar Rao starrer based on a real character last year.

Television, however so far has mostly shied away from dealing with homosexuality, except for a few notable instances like Star Plus’s former show Maryada and Sony’s Yudh. However that’s not enough, cause sadly those shows didn’t click with the audiences, despite having a stalwart like Amitabh Bachchan starring in Yudh unfortunately.

Hence watching the promo of Romil and Juggal, which rather than poking fun at the two boys in love, is lending sensitivety to  the budding romance between them is sheer delight.

The chemistry between the two boys is quite sweet and cute to watch as are their plights hilarious, the struggles that they have trying to deal with their warring parents, the various girls who are attracted to them. But above all, the conflicts within their own relationship, beginning with the acceptance that has to come from Romil about accepting his own sexuality or later on, coming out as they are to their near and dear ones is the interesting part. Hoping to find their love gains  acceptance and understanding; that they’re the people who these people have always known and loved, nothing changes about them once they discover that they’re two boys in love… with each other.

Karrle Tu Bhi Mohabbat | Ram Kapoor & Sakshi Tanwar

 

 

If like me you grew up in India in the nineties and came into your teens in the early years of the new millennium; there are chances that you had your first brush with your developing carnal side at the sight of a bare-chested Milind Soman, emerging from that box in Made In India, because oh la la 😍, have felt weirdly heartbroken for no reason listening to Shaan’s Tanha Dil and of course had the tunes of Balaji shows drilled into your mind through your ears. Cause no matter what there was just no escaping the world or Balaji; you would be asked to keep your racket down playing with your friends by your friendly neighbourhood aunties and even your mommies and everything you never asked was unloaded on your naive little mind as you were lectured on the current plights of poor Parvati and what fresh hell was one Mr. Jai Walia facing tonight…. Those faces and names invariably became a part of dinner table conversations and so much more… until eventually they faded away and found new names and identities.
Cut to around, the beginning of this decade when those faces returned with new names – Jai was Ram and Parvati, Priya. The casting coup that was literally the pair no one had imagined happening.
The rest as they say is history.
And history is repeating itself as now those faces take on new names. Those faces need no introduction; and neither does their chemistry. As they come together once again, they don’t have to compete with others but outdo themselves. And it’s there that the real challenge lies. Ram and Priya eclipsed Jai and Parvati, but will their new alter egos, carve a niche of their own or be overshadowed and crumble under the weight of the expectations that their previous outing has hyped. PS – is it me or does Ram look thinner and Saakshi younger in the promo?

Thoughts on The Test Case Promo

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If you have followed me long enough, then you probably know my penchant for the unusual and out of the ordinary. Yes I am guilty of watching #YHM even now but guilty pleasures are good for the soul 😆also you might now be aware of my knack to review almost anything that I do like and wish to talk about, which brings us to the picture in question here. Based on the landmark decision that women be included in the Indian army in combat by President Pranab Mukherjee, The Test Case is the subject for a show/movie/webseries that you would have never expected to happen, least of all it coming from the house of Balaji, because duh … precisely what makes it noticeable and out of the box, in a league of its own. I wouldn’t lie ever since I have learned of @ektaravikapoor launching @altbalaji I’ve been quite kicked up about it because as much as her shows have the power to drive you nuts, there’s no denying that this woman here has managed to carve a niche, and so her foray into a medium in its nascent stages in India is quite something alright. Love her or hate her, there’s no denying her Czarina status. And watching the very first full length promo featuring @nimratofficial@atulkulkarni_official @rahuldevofficial and @iamjuhichawla which sure as hell a knockout, it’s official Ms. Kapoor means business and is capable of much more than saas bahu sagas she is known for on prime time TV. I dunno what else is Ms. Kapoor holding up her sleeves, but if this is any indication of the things to come I’m sure she’s gonna rule the roost and add another feather to her cap definitely. Wishing all the luck to the team at @altbalaji and @ektaravikapoor for her latest venture and @nimratofficial I have to say this, you are absolutely phenomenal in the promo.

Stranger Things

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Unless you live under a rock, which is to say that you’re living a blissful life away from the internet and without any kind of knowledge of what’s happening in the world beyond your own it’s kinda hard to not know about this show anymore. Precisely why I watched it because darn it, I read so much about it that curiosity got me, and now I’m here. This is a most unusual show, as per me, and that’s exactly where it scores and wherein lies the appeal. Won’t spoil anything for anyone but I would say this is worth a shot for those who have been fans of The X files, Fringe, Black Mirror and the likes. A tip, if like me you aren’t really a sci-fi enthusiast but don’t mind the genre too, don’t give up on the show immediately; took me until the fourth episode to really sink into it