ALTBalaji Apaharan Review: It brings desi neo noir to streaming audiences

13 . Dec . 2018
Reading Time: 3 minutes
  • ALTBalaji finally gets desi and crime right for the streaming platforms
  • Arunoday Singh shines in Apaharan AltBalaji series, and Monica Chaudhary, Nidhi Singh steal the show with their great performances.

Let’s be frank – with so many webseries coming of the ALTBalaji kitty, there are bound to hits and misses. ALTBalaji started off this year with some explosive stuff, like The Test Case, Ragini MMS Returns and Bose: Dead/Alive.

Also Read| AltBalaji Original The Test Case Review

Since then, they have offered a vivid collection and content. Some stand out and some don’t, but their latest, Apaharan, starring Arunoday Singh, Mahie Gill and other is an explosive entertainer.

Arunodoy Singh plays a disgraced cop who’s arrested on corruption charges. Down in the pits, he is cash-strapped and battling his wife’s – justified – infidelity, when a mysterious woman (Mahie Gill) approaches him with a unique offer. Kidnap her step-daughter and take a part of the bounty.  She’s the second wife of a minister, and the minister dotes on his daughter. You get the drift.

Of course, there are twists, of course things go wrong and of course the series is a joyful romp through the Badlands of India, where crime, despair and cynicism go hand in hand.

What’s Wow:  Apaharan is a big web series for ALTBalaji. It’s visible from the first frame. With names like Arunoday Singh and Mahie Gill, the treatment is equivalent to a film and the content shines on screen.

By now, Arunoday Singh has mastered the art of playing the man who’s been dealt a bad hand. The Max Payne-ish narrative style could be a new one for most audiences, but it gels well with the concept.  Arunoday looks good on screen and plays his part well.

What really sets the series apart are the strong female characters. It’s as if Balaji decided to do penance for all the weak, submissive female characters they have thrown to audiences through the 90s and the 00s.   Mahie Gill does a good job of adding the mystique to the story.  Her character is underused though, and she’s more of a cameo appearance. However, she does hold her own with whatever she’s been given.

Nidhi Singh, who plays the unfaithful wife is the core of the series – after, of course, Arunoday. Another character that stands out is the Minister’s daughter, Anusha, played by Monica Chaudhary.  This is one of the rare instances when not one, but two female protagonists are given a multi-faceted character.  Monica Chaudhary gives a brilliant performance and her character remains with the audience for a long while.

The initial press releases said that the series was inspired by the seventies and that’s true. Films of the seventies had about ten twists and a long climax. Apaharan clings to this formula in a self-aware manner, making it a good watch.

This is also one of the few web series that makes good use of the music. They have a winner with theb retro music and that’s used in the right manner.

What’s Blah: Apaharan is a well-made series, there’s no doubt about it. Writer Mohinder Pratap Singh weaves an interesting story and director Sanjay Batra brings it to screen well. In some instances of the screenplay, the tell is revealed much before the ‘ah-haa’ moment, but at least ALTBalaji is not spoonfeeding the audiences the emotions with the background track in this one.

Coming to the screenplay, the number of plot twists is both good and bad, as its difficult to know if the audience will go on the ‘whee’ ride or will it be turned off. To ALTBalaji’s credit, it can created an imminently watchable web series with good performances and a unique, if not very original screenplay and story.

Parting Shot: Apahran is very different from the type of series that ALTBalaji has shown since the past few months. It creates a succulent dish by adding desi to a strikingly unique crime caper.

Cast: Arunoday Singh, Mahie Gill, Nidhi Singh, Monica Chaudhary, Varun Badola

Director By: Siddharth Sengupta

Apaharan will stream on the ALTBalaji platform from December 14.