By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | September 26, 2020

Rating: 2/5


The Essence: Crackdown, to be honest, begins with a bang and ends with a whimper. Much was expected after the first episode, which was crisp and hooked the viewer onto the plot. In cricketing parlance, it was like a One-day cricket match of the mid-nineties wherein, after the fall of Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket the rest of the batsmen just caved in.


The writing is on the wall…

A subsequent RAW Chief is so raw behind the ears that you wonder how he is even part of the elite Research and Analysis Wing unit that is tasked with protecting the country. He uses Fs and Bs liberally, like a teenager out to impress his peers and is more like an excited juvenile who has been handed a candy and does not know what to do with it.

A commoner who bears resemblance to a dead terrorist, and who is coerced to take her place to infiltrate the Pakistani camp to understand their next move, has a sketchy character; you don’t know whether she is coming or going.

Picture this: In one crucial scene she is shown at the RAW headquarters during a blast and in a flashback two episodes later, she is shown (at the time of the blast) in the home of the RAW official who has trained her, screaming for help! So, was this an editing glitch? Or did the story change on the sets?

Crackdown had promise…

Crackdown, to be honest, begins with a bang and ends with a whimper. Much was expected after the first episode, which was crisp and hooked the viewer onto the plot. The aerial camera shots are a delight as it maps the moves of the RAW commandos and the terrorists. The direction and screen play is crisp, and so are the performances. But post that, director Apoorva Lakhia is not able to sustain the momentum of what could have been a crisp action thriller, based on the good old Indo-Pak conflict.

In cricketing parlance, it was like a One-day cricket match of the mid-nineties wherein, after the fall of Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket the rest of the batsmen just caved in.

Another jarring aspect of the web series is the make-up of the male actors, especially Iqbal Khan, Rajesh Tailang and Tauqeer Alam Khan. You fear their foundation might crack!

The performances…

Only Saqib Saleem and Waluscha De Souza are anywhere close to perfecting their characters assigned to them. The rest of the cast have been let down by poor writing. The end does not meet the finesse of the beginning (both in performances and story-writing) and that is a big letdown for what promised to be a cracker of a series.

The subsequent RAW Chief is Iqbal Khan (Zorawar). He is all over the place, shining with the foundation on his face! A popat who does not know what is happening in his own home, is out there saving the nation!

A commoner who bears resemblance to a dead terrorist is Shriya Pilgaonkar (Mariam/Divya). Her character begins well but then as the series progresses, even she is confused as to what is expected of her. Just last month, Shriya pulled off a terrific part in The Gone Game.

Waluscha De Souza as Garima the wife of Zorawar is calm, collected and tight. There’s nothing amiss about her character and she delivers in style. It’s a joy to watch her belt out her part so effortlessly, considering she has hardly been there on the screen. I do hope we get to see more of her.

Saqib Saleem too does not leave any room for error in the delivery of his character. He is focussed, has a grip on his part which is written well and like Waluscha, delivers in style.

The writing is on the wall…

Director Apoorva Lakhia and most of the cast is let down by poor writing. Crackdown also has Ekavali Khanna (What Will People Say) and the director is not able to use her potential to make an impact on the plot. She too is left serving tea to her husband [Rajesh Tailang, who like Iqbal Khan shines with the foundation on his face] and waiting for him to finish his calls to take her for her daughter’s wedding shopping!

Crackdown is a big letdown!


CREDITS
Producers: Apoorva Lakhia, Sameer A. Shaikh
Director: Apoorva Lakhia
Star Cast: Shriya Pilgaonkar, Ekavali Khanna, Waluscha De Souza, Saqib Saleem, Iqbal Khan

Also Read: Paatal Lok Series Review: Not for the faint-hearted!
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