By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | August 22, 2020

Rating: 4 / 5

The Essense: Like I said before, it is timely, topical and terrific. To get an idea and conceive and execute it in such short time is pure genius. Add to it the powerful performances from most of the actors.

The Gone Game is timely, topical and terrific. Imagine conceptualising a web series amidst a tight lockdown and then shooting it remotely without the lead actors ever meeting. The shooting with skeletal cameras and interactions on Video Calls bring in that ‘lockdown feel’. It also shows creativity at its best with not a ‘glitch’ in the video interactions, despite the many breakdowns!

The plot…

The film starts with the Junta Curfew on March 22. Oh yes, there is the banging of thaalis as well! Sahil Gujral (Arjun Mathur) is just back from Bangkok and has self-quarantined himself in his bedroom. He has a bad cough and is running a temperature. On Family Call, his parents and sister are worried about him. But he reassures them that he will be fine. After six days of being locked-in, Suhani (Shriya Pilgaonkar), his wife tells him he has to get himself admitted to the hospital.

He agrees, but does not want her to be in the living room when he is moving out of the bedroom as he is concerned about her catching the virus. After he is admitted to the hospital, he messages her telling her he has tested positive and also sends her his report.

A day later he is cremated!

A few days after his death, Amara Gujral (Shweta Tripathi), Sahil’s sister gets a call from her brother. There is no answer from the other end. Is her brother really dead? Is he alive? Or is there foul play?

Fingers point to a lawyer Subhash Chaudhary (Dibyendu Bhattacharya). Sahil’s father Rajeev Gujral (Sanjay Kapoor) owes him a lot of money and before Sahil had gotten himself admitted to the hospital, Subhash had called and threatened him.

Meanwhile evidence point towards Suhani and an alleged affair between Prateek Jindal (Indraneil Sengupta), Sahil’s sister’s ex-boyfriend! As the episodes unfold, the twisting plot keeps you firmly in your seat.

Amara takes matters into her own hands and tries to join the missing dots. She succeeds. Or so she thinks.

The creativity…

As far as creativity is concerned, this Web Series scores very high. The lighting, the mood, the frustrations, even the banging on the doors by angry neighbours, wanting Suhani to stay put in her flat is so real. The reaction of people in the early days of the pandemic is beautifully brought on screen: full marks to director Nikhil Bhat for his vision and executing it brilliantly with his creative team to give a product worthy of its genre. He brings to the fore the disappointment of the lockdown as the family scattered in Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi are not able to come to the city (Mumbai) of crime.

Like I said before, it is timely, topical and terrific. To get an idea and conceive and execute it in such short time is pure genius. Add to it the powerful performances from most of the actors.

The performances…

Shriya Pilgaonkar as the wife who is concerned about her husband’s health and then when the needle of suspicion points towards her is terrific. Her body language says everything you expect of a woman convicted of a crime. But then, she is also as confused as Sahil’s family and this is what is confusing to the viewer as well! To carry off that part so realistically is what makes her part in the plot engrossing.

Dibyendu Bhattacharya is a class act. Just a few video calls and he establishes his character and motives. Sanjay Kapoor, throughout, reminds me of Anil Kapoor. I mean you see Sanjay but you view Anil. Nothing to undermine his performance; he is good. Ditto Indraneil Sengupta, Shweta Tripathi and Rukhsar Rehman who plays Sahil’s Mom.

It is Arjun Mathur who steals the thunder. He is there in the first episode and comes towards the fag end of the fourth as well. But he makes enough of an impact with his expressions and body language. He is stamping his class on every project he is being entrusted with.

Only Milind Adhikari who investigates the crime gives it a CID feel! The plot nose-dives whenever he comes on screen.

Is Sahil alive? Watch The Gone Game, to get into the thrill of it.

Director: Nikhil Bhat
Star Cast: Arjun Mathur, Sanjay Kapoor, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Shweta Tripathi, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Indraneil Sengupta

Also Read: Paatal Lok Series Review: Not for the faint-hearted!
Also Read: Illegal Web Series Review: Neha Sharma on fire in the courtroom

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