India is the next big thing for the streaming scene. ALTBalaji has launched a clump of web series. Netflix and Amazon Prime have announced their decision to concentrate on India. In such a scenario, Excel Entertainment comes with Inside Edge, a series that tells about a fictional T20 cricket league. Does the series hit every delivery for a six, or does it go for a toss? We find out.
This season of Inside Edge revolves around the Mumbai Tigers, a fictional cricket team in the fictional cricket series. The series is not particularly all about the pitch but also what goes behind it. So, we get to see the politics behind a cricket team.
The main characters in the series are Vikrant Dhawan (Vivek Oberoi), Zarina Malik (Richa Chadha), Arvind Vashisth (Angad Bedi), Vayu Raghavan (Tanuj Virwani), Rohini Raghavan (Sayani Gupta) and others. Vivek plays a businessman who gets a stake in the cricket team. Richa plays a failing actress who is losing control on her team. Then there’s Angad as the captain of the team and Tanuj plays a rockstar batsman in the team.
What’s Wow: We absolutely loved the script and the storyline. This is a layered, intricate story that will keep you pegged on. Special mention to the scriptwriter, who has created a number of interesting characters. With so many characters, there’s no chance of the audience feeling viewing exhaustion. Initially, Inside Edge promised a story that would be part sports, part internal politics, part dramad and emotion. And it gives that in aces.
On the performances front, everyone does their job well, except one, whom we will talk about later. Angad Bedi is a revelation as the captain of the team. But the man to watch out for is Tanuj Virwani as Vayu Raghavan. The way this guy oscillates between being a reckless alpha male to a scared cat shows his acting props. Vayu is the guy you’d want in your friends’ list, your house parties and even the after parties. Rohini Raghavan is right in place as the token bespectacled nerd. However, the master stroke here is in the script – her character plays Vayu Raghavan’s sister.
While every character is interesting, the one that grabs the attention is the cliched underdog, Prashant Kanaujia, played by Siddhant Chaturvedi. This is the guy to look out for. It is rare that an actor can break through the glut of cliché, but Siddhant does it with elan.
Inside Edge’s production values are incredibly impressive. With Inside Edge, an Indian web series has finally reached the level of the foreign web series. It was always a challenge to make the sports sequences believable and Inside Edge succeeds in that.
In hindsight, Inside Edge will be a joy to watch for the producers as well as the audience. The producer will be able to see every penny that’s spent. The audience will not feel short-changed. As long as the visual medium aspect of Inside Edge is concerned, it is the best in the Indian scenario.
What’s Blah: There’s no doubt that Inside Edge is a well made project. However, even in the best made projects, there are some chinks and Inside Edge does have them. The one person who stands out as a sore thumb is Vivek Oberoi as Vikrant Dhawan.
Quite frankly, Vivek doesn’t have the acting depth to hold such a huge series together. Vivek has a Wilson Fisk (Daredevil) hangover. Quite frankly, it doesn’t hold. Here’s proof of the Daredevil hangover. In one of the sequences, Vikrant gets angry and punches a mirror – that scene reminds us of that iconic scene where we are introduced to Wilson’s brutal beat-downs for the first time. The former is hilarious, the latter made the character.
Inside Edge had everything going for it. A great script, well readout characters, once-in-a-life production values – so it is strange that the director decided to submerge all this in a wallow of sex, drugs and cuss words. From the first sequence to the end, it seems like we are hate-watching the cricketing world and the world of T20. Drugs in the locker room, check. Drunken fights before match night, check. Flawed characters, check. With all this, the marvelous story arcs are forgotten.
And in all this, lies the moral question. Once upon a time, nobody cared for the film industry. They cared for film stars but not the film industry. Then, someone started caring for it and it became home to conspiracy theories and urban legends. The same thing happened with cricket. It saw a surge in popularity in the late eighties and became home to rumours, urban legends and conspiracy theories.
Film-makers have made several films that unravel the alleged underbelly of the film industry. These film makers have made their films under the garb of freedom of expression. In the same way, this series talks about everything that’s allegedly wrong with cricket. It doesn’t just talk, it shouts it out from the rooftops. The question now is, did the cricketing world need this series?
Parting Shot: Inside Edge is a well made series, but leaves a bad taste in the mouth because of the OTT sex and bad language.
Cast & Crew
Director: Karan Anshuman
Vivek Anand Oberoi as Vikrant Dhawan, The owner of one of the world’s most leading sports management companies
Richa Chadha as Zarina Malik, A fading actress and co-owner of the Mumbai Mavericks
Angad Bedi as Arvind Vashishth, an ex-Indian player of International cricket and the current Captain of the Mavericks.
Tanuj Virwani as Vayu Raghavan, The star player of the Mavericks and a moody hothead
Sayani Gupta as Rohini Raghavan, sister of Vayu and the Chief Team Analyst of the Mavericks.
Sanjay Suri as Niranjan Suri, The coach of the Mavericks
Sarah-Jane Dias as Meera Nagpal, a journalist and ex-girlfriend of Vayu
Amit Sial as Devender Mishra
Manu Rishi as Manoharlal Handa, A rich but eccentric businessman
Siddhant Chaturvedi as Prashant Kanaujia, A rookie fast bowler who joins the Mavericks to make his dreams come true.
Alexx O’Nell as Craig Litner, Vice-Captain of the Mavericks.
Edward Sonnenblick as Hamish Mccall
Aahana Kumra as Shahana Vashishth, Arvind’s estranged wife
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You can watch the entire series on Amazon Prime Videos