There’s a saying not to judge a book by its cover. That adage stands true with the ZEE5 Original, Sex Drugs & Theatre. The Marathi web series on ZEE5 is a stunning, realistic look at college politics, what goes into making a college play and other such aspects that are rarely found in mainstream entertainment.
The series is about a group of collegegoers, who are in the art department. They decide to take part in a theatre play festival. However, what seems to be a simple play gains political aspect almost immediately – as the college is reeling under a suicide incident. A young, Dalit boy commits suicide and there’s no logical answer to why he did so. The repercussions of the incident filter into the life of the art group students, and at the end of it all, they decide to do what’s correct.
What’s Wow: ZEE5 has done a commendable job by greenlighting this project. In today’s politically charged scenario, it’d be difficult to get a platform -however small- for this concept. Manas Layal and Ashwini Paranjpe do a good job of bringing to the streaming screens one of the most controversial and politically charged incidents in recent history. The director, Sujay S Dahake has his job cut out – and he does it well. The concept of the series is so strong that Sujay just needs to show his technical brilliance – and he does it well.
In a time when politically charged films and web series that are thinly veiled propaganda are making their way to the screens, it’s good to see an alternate political view. Sujay’s direction uses motifs instead of dialogues to put across a point.
People in power revere fundamentalists, while the ones fighting for their lives have Baba Ambedkar’s photos in the background. One sequence takes a long look at the bust of Bal Gangadhar Tilak, even though the young protagonists can’t get out the photos of Lennon and Bob Marley from their rooms. The end point of the series is that not all who revolt are rebellious. That’s a valuable thought to put across when other web series are content with saying that not all who travel are lost.
The series isn’t only about politics and the rebellion, though. The series is also about innocent, young love, the bravery and courage that youth brings and all that.
Another brownie point for the series is the cast. Some of them are quite visible in the Marathi film industry but are incognito to mainstream – and that works for the series and adds to the emotional context of the series. mainstream audiences will be surprised to see that almost all the main cast are well known actors – goes to show how we have been ignoring the Marathi market Each one of the actors are performance powerhouses.
Sex, Drugs & Theatre is one of the few web series that highlight all the hard work and skill that goes into doing a theatre play, even in college. This is a stark answer to those who make fun of everyone who has ever worked in a play.
What’s Blah: Nothing
Parting Shot: ZEE5’s Sex Drugs and Theatre is the silent revolution we all want.
Cast & Crew:
Cast: Suyash Zunjurke, Mitali Mayekar, Shalva Kinjawdekar, Adish Vaidya, Nayannah Mukey, Abhishek Deshmukh, Mayuri Tilekar