I eagerly looked forward to the release of the show Tandav on Amazon Prime, especially after the streaming service had hit consecutive home runs (or sixers) in my book with Paatal Lok and Mirzapur, both of which I gave emphatically glowing reviews to in sincerity. I used flowery fanboy language for both of those reviews such as “Paatal Lok Unleashes the Devastating Potential of the Indian Crime Thriller.”
Unfortunately Tandav was a dud, a waste of time, and most disappointingly of all a massive waste of screen talent. Dubbed by the PR team before the show’s release as “India’s Answer to House of Cards,” the PR team should be embarrassed to include that masterful American show about Washington DC politics in the same sentence as their client’s creation. The lone connection one could make is how desperately they tried to hack House of Cards, and failed.
The show starts out with an evil and interesting premise, regicide/patricide murder in Indian politics, and then has nothing else of value to add for viewers ever after that. Poorly written. Poorly acted. Poorly directed. A story which makes NO sense whatsoever, with a too clever by half plot twist involving a bunch of college students with no perceptible connection to the murder plot whatsoever being a focal point for no discernible reason.
My disappointment is two-fold. (1) I foolishly wasted the time to finish the series just in case I was going to miss something. The many women on the show are admittedly beautiful to behold and I have a soft spot for Indian dress and the machinations of Delhi politics. (2) As an Indian-American, I now feel like apologizing to any foreigner who decided to watch this show, and got turned off to Indian cinema permanently because of their viewing experience. Yes- I’m sure some firangis were PERMANENTLY TURNED OFF TO INDIAN CINEMA.
This was made all the worse because of the participating A-list Bollywood actors and directors who are capable of so much more; and in fact I have seen these same folks on other projects accomplish so much more. This may be one of the worst projects by either a Saif Ali Khan or a Dimple Khapadia they have worked on.
Yes, it was that bad. Period. End of story.
Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor