If Vidya Balan was asked what works in the streaming industry, she’d say crime, crime and crime. After Inside Edge, we’ve seen a slew of crime based web series from all the big platforms. While Amazon Prime had Inside Edge, Netflix came up with Sacred Games. Now, it is time for catchup. Amazon Prime brings Mirzapur to audiences and Eros Now has one of its own, Smoke. Smoke is based in the big, bad, drug induced reality of Goa.
Also Read | Amazon Prime Original Mirzapur Review
Goa’s crime world is ruled by two individuals, Bhau (Prakash Belawade) and Moshe Barak (Tom Alter). Bhau’s son, Pushkar (Amit Sial) thinks that his family is getting a raw deal from Barak, but his father will not have anything to hear about it. Things change when everyone involved with Barak and Bhau decide to take matters in their hands. Barak’s wife, (Mandira Bedi) decides to cut a deal with the investigating authorities so her husband goes behind bars. In this mix comes JJ (Gulshan Devaiha), a hitman who becomes Bhau’s crony and also becomes Pushkar’s close ally. Moshe’s life has his wife, his mistress, (Kalki Koechlin) and Roy (Jim Sarbh), his close associate. As outer forces decide to come to Goa for a piece of the action, all these individuals decide to take different steps ahead. Caught in the crossfire is Dumbo, a mute waiter at one of Barak’s legit businesses.
Also Watch | Exclusive Interview with Gulshan Devaiha
What’s Wow: Smoke starts off on a great concept – a decades old crime partnership that is threatened by newbies – that’s the gold standard for any crime epic. But the issue here is that none of the characters take any action in the eleven-episode timeframe that they are set in. All you see is the character smoke, talk about Goa and generally ‘decide to do something’.
What’s Blah: It’s the script that lets down the actors too. Prakash Belawade, Gulshan Deviah, Amit Sial, Kalki Koechlin and Neil Bhoopalam are some of the finest ‘tick’ actors today. The ones who perform in reflexes – those single frames you see in the trailers. When all these together cannot create a memorable sequence or a character, you know the script’s half baked or at least the screenplay’s moving at as snail’s pace. In fact, most of the stuff that’s happening in the series could be wrapped up in four episodes. The actors do whatever they can do with their characters. Amit Sial is the best among all, seconded by Jim Sarbh. Kalki doesn’t have much to do. Tom Alter plays his character a little over the board, but it’s nevertheless a good performance.
What’s also interesting is the absolute non-existence of action sequences. Apart from a few assassinations – single gunshot ones – this embroiled in crime series has nothing to offer to action fans too.
Also Watch | Exclusive with Neil Bhoopalam
Parting Shot: Smoke could have been much better than what it is currently.
Cast and Crew
Cast: Tom Alter, Gulshan Devaiah, Neil Bhoopalam, Kalki Koechlin, Jim Sarbh, Mandira Bedi
Director: Neel Guha
Produced by: Eros Entertainment.
Smoke is now streaming on Eros Now