- BOTTOM LINE: A Decently Engaging Native Crime Comedy After A Gap
|Platform: ZEE5||Genre: Comedy/Crime|
What Is the Story About?
A gang led by a determined con man, a politician whose father is on a wheel-chair with paralyses and a foreign national are all after a painting. What is so special about and who get it in the end? How these various worlds of the characters intertwine with each other is what the series is all about?
There is no definite single performer who can be termed as the lead in Topless. Harish Uttaman had that scope, but without getting into spoilers, we have to say, it fizzles out.
Dinesh Mohan is credited as the creator of the show. There are no particular credits to director individually for an episode or a few of them. As a creator, Dinesh Mohan has done an excellent job in getting the right output for his series.
The plot of Topless is simple, and as we mentioned in the trailer talk, it has become a staple plot lien for beginning in the web series space. However, not all have been successful in getting the crime caper genre right. Some are frustratingly bad whereas others fizzle out too soon after beginning with a lot of promise. Topless is somewhere in between. It has got most of the aspect right but loses on in crucial moments.
Topless begins haphazardly. It takes time to settle in the narrative and get into the groove. The multiple tracks and introduction to various characters and all look so derivate and confusing initially. There is also a persisting problem with the overall tone, as well. The jump from comedy to serious and back is a bit iffy.
However, right at the ending segment of the opening episode itself, we know it might not be a total disaster, after all. The surprise ending of the first episode instantly makes one move to the next one. Once we get into the middle of the second episode, everything seems clear, and the narrative starts to engage. A lot of the credit should go to taut direction and screenplay. The latter, especially, is well-done and hold the things together.
Things go well until the penultimate episode, where we start to feel a sense of the shift in momentum. Somewhere the spark seems to have gone off, and there appears to be an effort to get things wrapped up hurriedly. The ‘destiny’ angle doesn’t work and comes across as cop-out rather than something well-though. The many apparent inspirations become more and more evident as we reach the end.
Still, within the predictable premise, Topless is a neatly done crime caper with some hilariously done sequences. A tight screenplay and decent writing make it is a breezy one time watch. Do give it a try.
Instead of individual actors, we can see them as set or groups. There are four groups in the series. The boy’s group can be seen as the ‘hero’ collectively. They have differences, but everything is buried eventually. It is for this lot that Harish Utthaman could have been projected as a lead. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. Among the rest, Gokul Anand easily has the best screen presence. His character begins well but ends disappointingly. It leaves him making no impact in the end. Geevi, Anthony Felix and Rohit Muralidharam are alright.
The second set is the gangsters, where Arun Alexander has a double role. He is adequate in the parts given to him. The third gang involves a politician and his father and son. Guru Somasundaram easily stands out among them. Finally, the last one is the foreign national and local aid played by Basak Gaziler Prasad and Regin Rose. The former tries hard to play a hardball whereas the latter is effortless doing the ‘scheming’ support part.
The rest are also decent, but with much lesser screen time. Still, a couple in the gangster gang manage to impress. The hyperactive guy, for instance, who has a connection with the political group has a few hilarious moments.
Music and Other Departments?
Music by Amrit Rao is par for course for the series and crime capers in general. There is nothing unique or standout to remember, but it works mighty fine within the narrative. The cinematography, colour grading is excellently done for a low budget production. The editing is slick, mostly. The writing is more than decent. The effort is visible, and it helps a lot in elevating Topless from many others in its space.
Gets Muddled Narratively, At Times
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Topless Review by Siddartha Toleti
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