Life OK has now rechristened itself to a new channel called Star Bharat and this meant the introduction of a new lot of shows which come with the promise of freshness and novelty.
And amidst this lot, one of the most talked about and awaited shows has been the political drama, Saam Daam Dand Bhed. With an alluring starcast and a fresh concept, the show was launched with a bang and a few episodes down, I analyse the show's performance and how will it hold in future.
The Story So Far
Set in the backdrop of a village called Kaushalpur, we are introduced to a brothel, where a drunk policeman wants to have sex with a young girl, just because she is the daughter of a prostitute. The mother pleads and begs, only to fail at the same. This act is followed by plotting the policeman into a trap where the inspector would assume that he will have his moment with the girl only to be fooled completely.
There couldn't have been a better way to introduce the one and only Vijay Namdhari (Bhanu Uday), as the man is shown giving a piece of him to the characterless Inspector, as he beats the hell out of him. A montage explains us how Vijay, inspite of being an educated individual is unemployed which is also courtesy, the corruption in the system. Now, he is an outlaw who steals from the rich, but is a savior to the victimized common people.
Then there is a different side to the man, when he is at home and is loved by his nephew, niece, sister and sister-in-law. The only person Vijay is petrified of, is his elder brother, Prabhath (Akshay Anand) as the latter considers him to be a careless man who doesn't take his responsibilities seriously.
After a lot of complicated situations, Vijay comes in contact with Mandira (Sonal Vengurlekar) in the most unanticipated ways, where he learns that she is not the quintessential docile girl who would bend down to patriarchy or injustice. She has the answers to all the questions and tricks Vijay not only once, but twice. Evidently, Vijay is now in love with her.
These romantic and comical moments are nothing but fillers to the convoluted saga of plotting, betrayal and dirty politics that the show has to offer. The same is clarified when the Chief Minister of the state is shown to be a corrupt, tyrannical and ruthless individual who asks his cousin, Pankaj (Gireesh Sahdev) to kill Govind Babu, as he is the biggest barrier to their schemes and rule in Kaushalpur.
A good man who is living for the people, Govind isn't aware that he is being plotted against by the 'bad men.'
Govind is finally killed with none other than the help of Vijay (who is unknown to this whole plot and gets tricked by Pankaj, as he works for him). This leaves Prabhat devastated owing to his friendship with Govind and his concern for people's welfare.
The game of politics gets bigger as after Govind's death, Vijay is manipulated by Pankaj to make him help the latter in the upcoming elections which has gotten Vijay to be ecstatic; while on the other hand, a Guruji at an ashram asks Prabhat to contest for the elections as he is now their only hope.
The news about Vijay being Prabhat's brother finally reaches Pankaj which makes him more anxious than ever, followed by Vijay's 'accident' on his bike.
Will the loving brothers be unknowingly up against each other? How will Vijay end up being a candidate himself? Only time will tell.
The Story. Yes! This is my umpteenth review and an array of good and bad shows have come and gone. However, none of them has managed to have a clear and crisp storyline in recent times, except Beyhadh (which also had its loopholes). With Saam Daam Dand Bhed, the story is what makes the show a must watch. As intricate as the plot of the show is, the execution of the same is brilliantly done. It was touted to be a political drama and it absolutely lives up to that tag. Thank You Star Bharat for giving an aptly woven political drama, which Indian television hasn't seen for ages.
Again. We come across every other show boasting of showcasing family values and to an extent, it does too. However, things get cliched and over the top after a point of time making the show a disappointment. With Saam Daam.., that is not the case. Even though it presents family values and bonds, the treatment is extremely subtle and a part of that credit goes to the performers too.
The cinematography is yet another positive, as albeit there is a commercial touch with the slow-motion shots; they don't look forced and annoying. Also, there is a chase sequence in the show, which is shot in low light. But, even in the dark tones and shadows, the visuals don't become unpleasant.
The background score is spot on and caters to the different situations in the show. And a special and deserved mention goes out to the title track of the show as there is so much power and adrenaline rush in the track which gets you pumped already (I am finding that song to be on my playlist).
This is not entirely a negative point, but considering the show will cater to Indian audiences, it comes to play. The ruthlessness, plotting and cunning characters may become 'too much' for the viewers to handle. So, this is more like a remark that needs to be noted (but not changed).
The love angle between Vijay and Mandira is as filmy as it gets. Fortunately, they have sketched Mandira's character to be an unconventional girl, which makes it a good watch. However, the stalking, the typical 'nok-jhok' moments make the angle a boring visual after a point of time.
We not only lack, but absolutely miss actors like Bhanu Uday on Indian television. The man who has barely done 4-5 shows in the span of 12 years couldn't have chosen a better show for a comeback of sorts. The natural and free-flowing performance of the actor as Vijay is absolutely splendid and he lifts up the character to newer heights playing the protagonist. Not many know and wouldn't even guess it that Bhanu is over 36 years old in real life, but his portrayal of 'young guy' in the show makes you forget that completely. We couldn't have been happier with the choice of Bhanu being Vijay Namdhari.
Sonal Vengurlekar as Mandira is impressive and even though her face and body language comes across as a sweet and tamed girl, her character is not that. What makes her character even better is the mystery angle to it, where her roommate tells that 'it is better to stay off Vijay and not fall for him. Because, if that happens, he would be dead.'
Akshay Anand as Prabhat acts the perfect relief and calming figure amidst all this chaos. The show has several loud and negative characters in its essence, but Akshay as Prabhat is not only a delight but his ability of underplaying the character is phenomenal.
It's about time that an actor like Gireesh Sahdev got to portray something that lives up to his potential. Playing the leading bad man in this show, Gireesh is effortlessly ruthless, cunning and even stylish as Pankaj Chaudhari, where he absolutely owns his character.
It's been a while that I have said this, but the supporting cast is equally as good as the main cast; and at times, even better. The actor playing the Chief Minister and his assistant, or the actress playing Vijay's sister-in-law and Prabhat's wife deserve special mentions for fantastic portrayal of their characters.
I was enlightened with the fact how this show is loosely inspired from the Netflix mega show, House Of Cards and just like anyone, I had my doubts immediately. But, when it comes to showcasing the cold-blooded nature of politics, in a mere five episodes, the show has lived up to that convincingly. It's a delight to see an Indian television show display such crisp writing and power-packed performances.
Saam Daam Dand Bhed is a neatly woven, mysterious, callous and convoluted saga of the dirty game of politics with the backdrop of an unconventional and unlikely leader who will change the face of the system. The show is not only a definite watch, but it also has several factors that other TV writers could take lessons for, especially the union of commercialism and content driven presentation. Kudos!