BOTTOM LINE: Quirky Characters Liven up This Inconsistent Cop Drama
|Platform: Hotstar||Genre: Drama|
Skin and swear: Few lovemaking sequences, utterances of expletives
What Is the Story About?
Saumya Shukla is a cop who’s increasingly frustrated about the sexist treatment meted out to her by superiors at work. Surrounded by insecure men who perceive that she twists the gender-debate to her benefit, she is regularly transferred to departments that don’t do justice to her skill. Nevertheless, she’s not the one to take it lying down. Just then, she meets a gullible government official Netra, working in the census department, whom she uses as a trump card to revive her career. How successful is Saumya in accomplishing her goals? What’s the price that Netra has to pay for that?
Lara Dutta chooses a wonderful role to make her digital debut – it’s a space where she makes great use of her personality, adds an element of style and oomph to the portrayal of a middle-aged woman who’s going through a tricky phase on the personal and the professional fronts. She shows her ease in the lighter portions too, though Rinku Rajguru clearly outshines her with her terrific timing. It’s a role that superbly reflects her coming of age as an actor and provides a wider scope to tap her abilities. As a young government officer, unsure of her choices and unaware of the worldly ways, there’s innocence and energy in her lively act.
Sudhanshu Pandey is wonderfully restrained as the cop-husband, while Rajeev Siddhartha continues to cement his position in the digital space with every given opportunity. Parmeet Sethi as a sexist superior to a female cop gets an interesting, flawed role that he appears to have relished playing. Karan Wahi is good with the Mumbai Hindi-slang and has good screen presence to make a mark amid the talented performers around him.
For a colourful cop drama full of fascinatingly flawed characters, Hundred isn’t a fitting title at all. While the initial episodes of Hundred (where its universe is fleshed out) are vague and uninteresting, the storytelling gets solid in the later portions when the characters and their quirks grow on you. The unconventional equation between a shrewd cop Saumya and an innocent Maharashtrian woman Netra ensures the right balancing of energies. The female cop knows to slug it out, play dirty to win her battles, while Netra is a girl who becomes a woman through her struggles and conflicts.
The worlds of the two pivotal characters are contrasting and colourful at the same time. Though the situations in Hundred aren’t anything new or out-of-the-box, the writers use their imagination in looking at stereotypes in a new light. From an undercover operation to the presence of informers to internal politics in a workplace to underworld dealing, there’s a right mix of drama, tension and lightness to keep a viewer interested. The journey of the characters and the gradual revelation of their core identity give it the depth and helps it rise above any other masala outing.
Though it’s the younger character Netra Patil who is the more colourful one and keeps the ball rolling with her live-wire energy, Saumya’s is easily the juicier part. Netra, having lost her mother at a young age, literally becomes a mother-like, selfless figure to the family. A surprise turn of events makes her realise her unexplored sexuality – it’s a delight that these sequences are funny minus any drama.
While the female cop in Imtiaz Ali’s She wasn’t smart enough to turn the tide in her favour in a male-dominated space, Saumya Shukla’s role in Hundred is a cop who can work through her disadvantages with greater tact, outsmart her odds without being crippled by the system. The sequences where Saumya utilises her political contacts to get past a precarious situation are smartly conceived. It’s a more interesting scenario in Hundred to also have the protagonist’s husband belonging to the same profession, offering its writers to explore their (possible) insecurities and personal-professional conflicts.
The few subplots in the show involving the struggling rapper waiting for an opportunity to prove his worth, the laidback father of a woman wiling away his time watching television soaps and the subordinate of Saumya (Pendse and his son who makes micro cameras) contribute to its appeal. The show is a genre-bender in many ways making space for situational humour, tension, family drama and strategy. Hundred runs a risk of being all over the place, but the writing is intelligent enough to help the audience connect the dots. Directors Ruchi Narain, Ashutosh Shah, Taher Shabbir are successful in ensuring the consistency of its many characters.
Music and Other Departments?
The music in the show is a delight – it is peppy and retains the colour and flavour that the writers have brought to the setting. The frames remain vibrant, the visual texture is no-less fascinating and reflects the efforts of the makers in constructing this hue-filled world. Had the show been less indulgent with the length in the beginning, Hundred would have been a lot more memorable.
Performances of the lead cast
The characterisation of the cop Saumya Shukla
Regular situations, nothing new in the story
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Review by Team Binged
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