BOTTOM LINE: Hackneyed Rom-Com With Sci-Fi Twist
|Platform: Zee5||Genre: Drama, Comedy|
Skin and Swear: Mild
What Is the Story About?
Varun Pandya (Akhlaque Khan) is a single, awkward, and unsociable guy who has no girlfriend in his life. It is that way despite him working as a professor in a college. How Varun’s life changes unexpectedly with the arrival of a new friend Leonardo in the form of a phone? What are the consequences of having a phone as a friend the basic storyline of the series?
Phone-A-Friend runs entirely on the mannerism and histrionics of one and only Akhlaque Khan. He does all he can in his capacity to make things works. To his credit, he does come up with endearing moments now and then. He makes one root for success.
Unfortunately, the writing is so predictable and weak that Akhlaque act fails to make any impact. As a viewer one never cares what happens with the character despite the best efforts visible.
Allyson Patel and Yash Dave direct the series. They have a picked an utterly predictable plot and given it a sci-fi twist. Sadly, they fail to make use of the given premise to its best effect.
Once again, one should first understand that the plot involves a talking phone. If one is past that absurdity or are okay with it, only then that the rest of the problem matters. Otherwise, one could simply skip at that point itself.
The sci-fi element of having a phone talk is used only to give the contrived narration a fresh twist. Instead of a third person, we have a device that takes its place. What happens next is something we have seen in a wide variety of films.
From the core plot to the various twists that occur in the narrative are highly predictable. The emotional graph is understandable to any novice from the start to the end. The key points which take the story forward are highly clichéd.
Still, what works is some of those moments, despite their utter predictability, carry cuteness or awkward energy due to the lead actor Akhlaque Khan. He tries his best, and the conversions with the phone have juvenile fun at times.
The background conversion related to the environment and the message tried to convey at times is another interesting aspect. Similarly, the dangerous turn of the technology when it turns rogue is also exciting. But they have been hardly utilized in the narrative in a meaningful way. In fact, when these points are brought up, everything seems so contrived and forced.
The bigger problem, more than anything else is the length, it is too long for the utterly banal and hackneyed content. The same thing could be narrated tightly in a gripping manner with fewer episodes. At least in that way, the whole thing would feel less tiresome to watch.
Overall, Phone-A-Friend offers nothing fresh apart from the sci-fi twist. It is far too long and underwritten with formulaic narration at its core.
The series has no really developed character apart from the lead. The only two other important parts are that of the female lead and the voice of the phone. Swati Kapoor looks alright in parts but overall fails to leave an impression. A large part of that also is a direct result of the poorly written role. RJ Mantra as the voice of a phone, has a better remembrance and payoff. Among the rest, only the actress playing the mother of Varun gets registered due to one sequence towards the end.
Music and Other Departments?
There are several songs in the series which only adds to the length and do nothing to enhance the appeal. The cinematography is par for course for a small scale digital project. The editing should have been tighter. The writing is weak.
The Sci-Fi Angle
No Emotional Connection
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Review by Siddartha Toleti
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