Cast: Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Vikrant Massey, Divyendu Sharma
Director: Gurmeet Singh, Karan Anshuman, Mihir Desai
Mirzapur, Amazon Prime’s latest show based in the crime-infested Eastern Uttar Pradesh, finds itself in a dilemma from the very beginning. Should it go all the way and be an unapologetically stylised show about two brothers rising in the world of crime, or be a documentation of the alternate reality this part of the world lives? In the end, it becomes a half-baked, unimaginative replica of Gangs of Wasseypur minus the fun.
Thank god, the show stars Pankaj Tripathi, the only natural actor of the lot, who knows the exact trajectory of his character, traits and resolution. His disgust, anger, disappointment, everything is palpable—be it his encounter with another gangster or his weak moment in front of his young wife, he excels in every scene. Tripathi’s local strongman is a walking manifestation of paradoxes but you still understand him, such is his charm.
Tripathi plays Kaaleen Bhaiyya, the don of Mirzapur, whose hot-headed son Munna (Divyendu Sharma) can’t tolerate the increasing stature of Guddu (Ali Fazal) and Bablu (Vikrant Massey) in the local gang dynamics. However, instead of shooting them down, Kaaleen employs the brothers in his illegal arms and drugs business.
The writers—Karan Anshuman, Vineet Krishnan and Puneet Krishna—keep throwing cheesy lines. They have created men who keep filling the sky with bullets and women who love the sight of them doing so. All this escalates to such a height where they forget to have a normal conversation. It becomes clear within two episodes that Mirzapur is all about titillation, cheap thrills and high-voltage gangster dialogue-baazi.
Actors change their tone so swiftly that you wonder if they actually know the characters they’re playing. The same actor tries to react in five different ways in similar situations. Then there are also forced sub-plots like a college election and a girl masturbating in the library.
Rasika Dugal plays Tripathi’s wife. Her sole contribution in the story is to add some steamy scenes. What a waste of talent.
The two leads, Fazal and Massey, are not convincing. They speak in different dialects and fail to add texture to this otherwise dull saga of bloodthirsty rivalry.
The police are conspicuously absent in most part of the show. An IPS, played by Amit Sial, brings some hope but fades into oblivion within minutes. The only recollection Mirzapur offers is violence, that too without any solid ground. This may be the way of life in Mirzapur, but it looks absurd on screen.
There is hardly anything to cherish in Mirzapur except Pankaj Tripathi, who is operating on an entirely different tangent than the others.
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