Avrodh SonyLiv Series Review | Avrodh Web Series ReviewBOTTOM LINE: Where Meticulous Detailing Meets Soulless Storytelling
Skin and Swear: Very Minimal Use of Strong Language and Presence of On-Screen Intimacy
|Platform: SonyLiv||Genre: Action|
What Is the Story About?
Avrodh: The Siege Within is set in 2016, in the very hour of the surgical strikes planned to avenge the cowardly attack on Indian soldiers at URI. The show not only elaborates on the series of events leading to the URI attack but also casts a light on the decision making, strategies and the execution concerning the retaliation by the Indian army across the Line of Control. The focus of the Major Videep Singh-led troop is to eliminate a terrorist outfit headed by Abu Hafeez. The story also values the perspectives of a forthright journalist Namrata Joshi and NSA officers Shailesh Malviya, Satish Mahadevan.
Going by his filmography, Amit Sadh can sleepwalk in roles where he is to don a uniform and still get away with it. His role as Major Videep Singh hardly has anything going for it despite being a pivotal part. Neeraj Kabi and Ananth Mahadevan in the shoes of the NSA officers appear wasted. Darshan Kumaar lends a reasonable emotional appeal to his portrayal of a forthright army officer, though the characterisation feels clichéd. The much experienced Vikram Gokhale gives a unique identity to the PM’s part and doesn’t caricaturise it at all, be it the diction or the histrionics. Madhurima Tuli seems over-enthusiastic while slipping into the skin of a journalist where some restraint would have helped. Arif Zakaria plays a role that’s of little consequence to the narrative.
It was never going to be easy for a show to made on an event (the surgical strikes) of such national significance that has already been a source of inspiration for a blockbuster movie like URI: The Surgical Strikes and still be able to garner the attention of spectators. Avrodh needed to present the surgical strikes from a different dimension to evince interest, which it fails to – for the most part. Raj Acharya, a protégé of Danny Boyle, opts for a realistic spin to this story – the fact that they have adapted the series from a book ‘India’s Most Fearless: True Stories of Modern Military Heroes’ shows that their approach has been rather sincere.
The detailing in reference to the military retaliation is indeed meticulous and the tone of the show remains surprisingly subdued (none is shouting ‘How’s the josh?’) but its strengths pretty much end there. Adapting a non-fiction material into a show always presents the danger of losing out on the storytelling/cinematic flourish and it’s hard to distinguish Avrodh from any documentary on the surgical strikes. The emotional centre and dramatic element in the story are conspicuous by their absence – the show is fact-heavy and is obsessed about glorifying the army and doesn’t bother giving any identity to its characters. There’s no backstory that aches or moves you, the storytelling feels bafflingly passionless in a narrative that always had a chance to be a gripping military drama.
Avrodh takes us through the mock drills before a military operation, the physical toil that the army men experience and other technical aspects ensuring their preparedness in the direst of situations. This is not bad at all, but this technical indulgence makes the show feel more educative than entertaining. The portrayal of the media remains shallow and unidimensional. There’s neither an element of surprise nor innovative structuring to salvage it. Lines like ‘the country owes nothing to you, but you owe everything to the country’ feel so empty and pretentious. It’s tough to ignore the political propaganda, that’s thankfully not blown out of proportion.
If one was to understand why URI: The Surgical Strikes worked – its semi-fictional route was rather liberating, the delicious mix of the personal and the nationalistic cause made you invest in the proceedings. It was no classic but the director invested in the middle-ground approach while pleasing the masses and also balancing the film with adequate detailing to pass muster. Avrodh, on the other end, is exhausting, mechanical and overstays its welcome by an hour at least. It is more information and less soul. Its technical grandeur, unfortunately, can’t make up for its poor storytelling.
Music and Other Departments?
Nirmal Pandya’s music score is ordinary and one may sense it’s also owing to the screenwriting with zilch emotional appeal. Shanu Singh Rajput’s cinematography is the silver lining to the underwhelming show, as he makes great use of the natural expanses to instil life into the frames. Both the director Raj Acharya and the screenwriters prefer an academic approach to the storytelling but it fails to lend the sequences any vigour in terms of execution. Provided the focus in technical aspects matched the maker’s interest in building fascinating characters, Avrodh would have been a great show.
Vikram Gokhale, Darshan Kumar’s performances
Did I Enjoy It?
Not so much
Will You Recommend It?
Only to those with ample time and patience on their hand
Review by Binged Bureau
| Avrodh SonyLiv Series Review | Avrodh SonyLiv Web Series Review | Avrodh: The Siege Within | Amit Sadh | Neeraj Kabhi |