Crime and politics are the legendary concoction that inspires countless content creators. Indian audiences have seen several films, series and now web series that try to bring the essence of his concoction to the screen. Some have become iconic, some have worked well at the box office, while others came across as wannabes. Hotstar now releases City of Dreams, the Nagesh Kukoonoor web series that’s based in Mumbai and has criminals, politicians and common people, all looking at surviving and thriving.
A politician, Gaikwad (Atul Kulkarni) is shot in broad daylight, leading the whole city in disarray. As his son, Ashish and daughter, Poornima, begin to come to terms with that, there are other forces at play. A Muslim police officer, Wasim Khan begins investigating the shootout.
What’s Wow : Nagesh Kukunoor creates an intense, gripping drama that’s set in the very Badlands of Mumbai city. The screenplay is fast paced and doesn’t dilly dally creating backstories or emotional arcs for any of the characters. This is one of the few web series where all the characters come across as strong – that’s the hallmark of being well written. That credit goes to Nagesh and Rohit Banawlikar.
On the performance front, Ejaz Khan is a revelation, if you know him only from the television soaps that he used to be part of. Priya Bapat gives an explosive performance as the politicians’ daughter. Siddhant Chandekar, as the enfant terrible, an ambitious son does a good job as well.
City of Dreams has several story arcs – there’s the family angle, the political intrigue as well as the mystery whodunnit. City of Dreams, surprisingly, does a good job of exploring all these aspects in the short runtime of 10 episodes.
The interesting part is that none of this has not been done before. The sex worker who pines for freedom, the common man who falls in love with the unneeded, and the middle aged man who’s searching for some excitement in his life. While that’s one part of the world, the other one is populated with rich people, who are ambitious enough to turn the world upside down. However, the stellar performances and a taut screenplay keeps it all fresh and engaging.
What’s Blah : The series is based in Mumbai. Scriptwriters will tell you that when you base a series or a film on a geographical location, that place is a character too. Unfortunately, the scriptwriters and the directors didn’t invoke the day to day life of the city into the screenplay. That’s one sore missing point.
Parting Shot : City of Dreams is a fast-paced whodunnit
Cast & Crew :
Cast: Ejaz Khan, Atul Kulkrni, Priya Bapat, Siddhant Chandekar.
Director: Nagesh Kukunoor
Script: Nagesh Kukunoor, Rohit Banawlikar
Watch the trailer here :