A CANNY CHIEF MINISTER interested in big numbers. A soldier declared a deserter and traitor. His son, an Intelligence Bureau officer, investigating a money laundering case. A waste recycling start-up czar accused of reverse hawala transactions. Bejoy Nambiar weaves an intricate web, which goes back and forth in time, from 1988 to 2018, focusing on a magnificent-looking Kolkata and more of the East. At the heart of it though it is a story of a father and son, and how the latter tries to redeem his legacy, stained by conspiracy and crime. Short and tightly edited episodes keep the suspense alive even as everyone seems to be ready to betray everyone else but it’s a relief to not have everything attributed to the foreign hand. There are some financial terrorists who are as home grown as they are dangerous, and as the plethora of investigating agencies shows, from the IB to the CBI to the Economic Offences Wing, not everyone on the ground marches in lockstep to a patriotic drumbeat. New or little seen faces, some cast from among Nambiar’s friends, add to the freshness of the show.
Why Watch it? Shows about financial fraud are popular for a reason. If done well, they have the potential to hold you in their thrall for a more sustained period. And yes, star-making performances from Avinash Tiwary and Jitin Gulati
Blood on the Streets
Bambai Meri Jaan| Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Kritika Kamra, Avinash Tiwary | Showrunner: Shujaat Saudagar English | Prime Video
What does a man do when his honesty and hard work get him nothing but humiliation and immiserisation? What does his son do when he sees his father’s helplessness in the face of an increasingly cruel world? The story of Dawood Ibrahim has been often told in Hindi cinema, yielding a sub-genre by itself. But nowhere has it been played as a classic conflict of father and son, as the former falls increasingly down a rabbit hole of defeat and the latter rises slowly making the corrupt system work for him. Based on S Hussain Zaidi’s relentless chronicling of Mumbai’s underworld, Kay Kay Menon is excellent in the series as the stoic and proud Ismail who watches Mumbai change before his eyes taken over Haji’s ingenuity, Anna’s network and Pathan’s terror, while Avinash Tiwary plays his forever brash and rebellious son, Dara, like the poet and emperor says Haji. Shot beautifully, mostly at night, Mumbai looks partly like an alluring lover and partly like a jaded courtesan whose every move is as practised as it is weary. There is a wide cast of characters but the relationship between Dara and Ismail is the heart of the drama.
Why Watch it? Rarely does an actor have two major releases in the same week and even rarer is for him to excel in both very different roles. Avinash Tiwary take a bow