BOTTOM LINE: A Flabby Thriller With Many Loose Ends
|Platform: Aha Video||Genre: Thriller|
What Is the Story About?
Dr Anand is a professor, neurosurgeon who’s immensely revered and popular for solving complicated neurological issues of his patients with relative ease. Not many know that there’s a dark side to his medical research. With little idea of the same, three small-time burglars attempt to con him at his residence on a rainy right. The situation complicates when Anand’s colleague Misbah and a cop enter the house. The presence of Anand’s student Avinash and Misbah’s wife Fatima adds up to the tension in the proceedings. How will this group survive the night? Is there any sign of hope?
Satyadev Kancharana’s performance, despite the inadequacies of the characterisation, anchors the series to a large extent. He makes a genuine effort to portray the crookedness in his character – the underplayed performance where he brings an eeriness to the instances even when he doesn’t even utter a dialogue says enough about his attempt to stay true to the role. Samyukta Hornad makes a departure from her usual vivacious on-screen self in a brief part where she gives good company to the in-form veteran actor Sri Lakshmi. The latter gets a spirited, badass role after a very long time, extracting her comic timing impressively.
Bindu Chandramouli plays the brief role of a suspicious wife with a lot of assurance – it’s a relief that she gets to do a lot more in the series beyond her suspicion. Keshav Deepak and Vasu Inturi may have wanted meatier roles, but they are earnest as long they last. Abeeram Varma, who surprised many with his acting abilities in Phanindra Narsetti’s Manu, proves his worth in an interesting role this time around too.
Locked is a unique instance of a home invasion thriller being made in the Telugu entertainment industry – the recent Taapsee Pannu outing Game Over being a good reference point for many to acquaint themselves with the genre. However, novelty alone can’t be one’s trump card to make a series. Locked feels partially inspired by the Hollywood thriller Don’t Breathe with a medical twist to the story, but the ‘inspiration’ isn’t its major issue. The fact that it doesn’t establish the motive of its protagonist clearly and uses up a lot of time in frivolous conversations and ‘sob-fest’ flashbacks is its biggest drawback.
The show frequently keeps singing praises about why Dr Anand is terrific at his work – but not a single sequence visually establishes the same. The character establishment happens on a surface level. No care is taken to explain the specifics of his research – all that the series wants to focus on is his creepy side and the blood emanating from the brain of his subjects. The con-artistes are the most colourful dimension to the story – wish there’s a day in a Telugu show where its female characters are burglars merely for the ‘thrill’ of it and have no sentimental flashbacks that compel them to steal. The melodramatic episodes justifying their actions barely work here.
At the heart of it, Locked has all the ingredients to be a taut thriller though it fails to be precise. Nearly every subplot is flabby– the portion about Avinash’s mother being operated by Dr Anand, Fatima’s consistent suspicion about her husband’s loyalty, the commentary by the cop about how one is better off without a wife in their lives, to name a few. Though the episodes are structured reasonably well and have you intrigued, the sparks in the screenplay are too sporadic to warrant your attention across a seven-episode span.
However, by no means this Pradeep Deva Kumar-directorial can be termed lazy – the writers have done their part in regionalising a largely Western template to suit a Telugu audience. The writing works on an emotional level but the script doesn’t get enough into the head of its protagonists and as a result, you don’t understand their concerns, if not empathise with them. Everything said and done, the climax is still a relief – the director doesn’t sanitise the image of its protagonist forcefully and brings an open-ended quality to it. It speaks of the dark side to every genius – but what makes the show’s protagonist a widely proclaimed genius? Locked would have worked better if it had a clearer answer to it.
Music and Other Departments?
Composer Prashanth Srinivas and sound-designer K Prathap do a fine job in sustaining the momentum of the show in terms of its soundscape. The show at times looks like it was shot under certain budgetary limitations. With less-indulgent writing and a tighter narrative, Locked would have been an experiment done right.
Satyadev and Sri Lakshmi’s performance
Stays true to its genre
Many pointless and long subplots
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Review by Srivathsan Nadadhur
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