Cast: Rajeev Khandelwal, Aamir Ali, Sreejita De, Satyadeep Misra, Shakti Anand, Tinna Datta
Director: Partho Mitra
ZEE5 has brought a taste of the naxal movement to their streaming service with Naxalbari. Experimental, as the platform has been with its content, this revenge-drama too creates space for storytelling for its kind, not mainstream but aspirational in every sense of the word. Even though the bloody, ongoing conflict has been existent in the country for more than five decades and is spread over various states, it has seldom found voice in Bollywood outings. Naxalbari is an attempt in the regard, with no intention of glossing over war crimes or siding with the perpetrators.
An MNC, FICA, lays out plans of a mining plant in the resource-rich areas of the forests, which the residents are naturally opposed to. In lieu of development, all their livelihood sources will be taken control of. Politically under-represented, naxalites resort to violent means to curtail foreign movement inside their territories. The Special Task Force (STF), headed by Raghav Joshi (Rajeev Khandelwal), gets involved and layers of conspiracies and vested interests are uncovered in the process of serving justice to the state and adivasis.
Web series director Partho Mitra has made a decent show with the script at hand and considering the run-time of episodes is limited to under thirty minutes each, it does not slack off either and holds attention with various twists and sincere performances backing the teleplay. However, one thing that is constantly a source of nuisance is the excessive use of explicit language by the characters, especially the ones playing naxals.
Not a single sentence uttered by them is sans abuses. Since Naxalbari is for web and comes with a 18+ disclaimer, most of the swear words have even made way into the final cut. But, since the very start, it is one of the aspects that may bother you and even wane off your interest to a certain extent. To add more to it, leader of a political outfit, which is functioning to wipe out naxalism with force and murder, is also hell bent on using expletives, like he does firepower.
Naxalbari puts together a good ensemble and does not focus too much on the main lead, Raghav. In fact, he has his own shortcomings that make him humane and relatable despite being a cop, which is a plus point too. All in all, the latest ZEE5 show is worth investing time in if you don't mind verbally offensive give-and-take.