Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Zeeshan Ayub, Sunil Grover.
Ali Abbas Zafar

There is a paradigm between having guts to talk about current affairs and playing to the gallery, with tricks and titillations. Unfortunately for all, it is the later that Ali Abbas Zafar’s Tandav talks about. 

When your father is set to win the Prime Minister’s seat for the third time in a row, you are bound to consider the masses your own to manipulate and rule. That’s exactly what Devki Nandan (Tigmanshu Dhulia) thinks about his son, Samar Pratab (Saif Ali Khan). Almost dictatorial, Samar is only waiting for his turn at the chair. The one thing Devki doesn’t want is to let Samar has his way, and those close to him already know that about his distrust in his own son. So when Samar gets his father off the way, it is no surprise. 

But politics is never about playing the game alone. So while Samar is about to taste his victory, the chair is pushed further away by the likes of Anuradha Kishore (Dimple Kapadia) – Devki’s 30year old confidante. When the war is declared, it goes without saying that the parties won’t stop at nothing. 

However when it becomes very obvious that Samar won’t be able to sit on the Prime Minister’s chair, he starts trying to cultivate youth leader Shiva Shekhar (Mohd. Zeeshan Ayub) to take on the position and be the face to Samar’s mind and works. Shiva is an earnest student from VNU (any resemblance with Kanhaiya and JNU is strictly coincidental) his intentions are pure but he is too small a fish in a pond infested by politico-crocodiles. The plot gets extremely heartless with topics like farmer plights, student protests gets touched upon but not scratched beyond the surface. 

The gamut of topics that Tandav touches is so vast that one cannot help but reel. Yet, the most impressing work done in the series is by Subarna Ray Chaudhari – the costume designer. The style with which Saif Ali Khan takes on the scene, the poise of Dimple Kapadia and the drapes on Sarah Jane Dias are all excellent but the depth they appear to have as characters does not reflect in their character graph.

In fact, Gaurav Solanki who has give us the fantastic Article 15, has completely overlooked giving any explanations. Anuradha aka Dimple Kapadia, gets a moment, it is not sufficient. Characters like that of Sana Mir (Kritika Kamra) and Ayesha (Sarah Jane Dias) could have been a lot meatier. Actors like Sandhya Mridul, Annup Soni are completely wasted. Sunil Grover as Samar’s henchman has his moment, but just one. 

Saif Ali Khan who has often done wonders in a negative role, gets completely overshadowed by the likes of Dimple Kapadia and Zeeshan Ayub. Despite the fact that Zeeshan doesn’t really look the part of a young college student. 

Ali Abbas Zafar was clearly given a great script, fantastic actors but he took the subject and diluted it with style and glamour. Very unfortunate, for those who were expecting the dance of creation, preservation and dissolution between the saviour and the destroyer – instead we were served a tepid drama sans the magnetism of politics. 

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