- BOTTOM LINE
Where the Joke Is on the Audience
|Platform: Zee5||Genre: Thriller|
What Is the Story About?
A 20s something youngster Karan in Hyderabad is a compulsive gambler, who makes big money in cricket matches relying on his obnoxious strategies. After earning a huge sum in a cricket betting transaction, the former is asked to collect his due in a secretive location, adhering to the modus operandi of the betting mafia leader.
Even as Karan and his girlfriend Vani look set to finish formalities and collect their money soon, the tables turn when a stranger couple Guna and Nisha overhears their conversation and robs their ransom by masquerading his identity. A disappointed Karan and Vani try hard to track the culprit and seek their lost money. Will they be successful in their pursuit?
There’s hardly anything to drive home about the performances because the characters are so vague, loosely established and you don’t feel much for them when they get into a crisis. Gourish Yeleti has got his physicality right for the visual medium but doesn’t at all strain his acting muscle when he’s on the screen. The actor who plays his nemesis in the series, Tarun Rohith is as uninterested. Their dialogue delivery is flat. The leading ladies Anusha and Jayasree Kshatriya fare slightly better but that’s not meaning much.
If an equation as simple as ‘1+1=2’ taught by a teacher in a school is backed by a bombastic background score, portrayed as if it’s an earth-shattering discovery in the mathematical realm, then you get something on the lines of Hawala. The Telugu series, that marks another association between ZEE5 and Tamada Media, has a basic, ordinary plot and a yawn-worthy narrative with the intelligence levels of a preschooler. There’s absolutely nothing going for it – neither the presentation, the dialogue, the (painful) performances nor the (mostly absent) detailing.
One wonders how long would the series have lasted minus the close-up, slow motion, montage shots? Everything about the series appears very careless, with no effort or attempt to tell a story. At least, had they attempted a simplistic series with a self-parodying tone, the results would have been slightly different. However, the director imagines as if this wafer-thin plot of the series has the depth of a Christopher Nolan film with various layers of intelligence. The soundtrack deceives you to think there’s something deeper and intelligent than what you see on the screen.
The backdrop surrounding betting mafia, the robbery, the chases and the conning sequences in a jewellery shop is extremely juvenile and amateurish in ideation. A series of this nature may not need an earth-shattering story, but the least the makers could have done was to weave a good screenplay to distract you from its follies. The uninspiring result only has the quality of a pilot project (that has gone wrong) and should have never made it to an OTT platform in the first place. Despite the crisp runtime, there’s not a single sequence you’ll recollect after the viewing.
Music and Other Departments?
If there’s any department that has sincerely put in more effort than the others in the series, it has got to be the music. Though the composer oversells a few sequences, the minimal amount of suspense and thrill in the series comes through only because of his work. The cinematography, though not completely out of the box, lends a reasonable visual texture to the results. The dialogues are cringe-worthy. The editor certainly has our sympathies – he looks to have tried hard to put together something that makes sense but alas, he could do only so much with respect to damage control.
The initial episodes
The background score
Zero nuance in storytelling
Will You Recommend It?
Hawala Review by Srivathsan Nadadhur
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