What is the story about?
Witnessing her mother go through an abusive marriage, denied any love from her patriarchal business baron-father, Aratrika Reddy had to fight many inner demons since her childhood. Adulthood hasn’t been any kind to her either, where, as the chairman of Aditya Group of Companies, Aratrika only has a few hours to salvage the company from certain bankruptcy. The empire has many suitors trying to snatch the reins from her – family members, ex-husband Siddhartha, business rival Rajyavardhan Rathore, bank chairman Das and a Dubai-based investor Sadiq Sheikh. It’s a battle for the company that Aratrika doesn’t want to lose at any cost.
It’s refreshing to see a Telugu show attempt a no-holds-barred corporate thriller revolving around an ambitious businesswoman who’s willing to take the fight to the finish. The lead character is a self-reliant woman who doesn’t need any God-sent saviour to solve her issues. Nothing can rattle her, a broken marriage, a disturbed childhood or the absence of any emotional anchor in her life. She can be the unapologetic bad-ass boss, a skilful decision-maker and a doting mother at once sans any baggage. It’s quite obvious that such a character, even though fictional, merited a show. The result, though, works the other way round.
11th Hour is a hotchpotch, undone by the uneven writing, black-and-white, half-baked characters and the convenient resolution of its conflicts. Web shows are exciting when it explores the many shades of its characters and lets the viewer do the interpretation. Umpteen characters in 11th Hour (all of them – men) pose a threat to Aratrika but it’s disappointing that their traits are almost one-dimensional – vengeful, manipulative, greedy and insecure. The situations in the story are superficial, shorn of realism.
The journey of the lead character is sketchily designed – the jumps from her childhood days to adulthood are drastic and doesn’t justify her authoritativeness as an entrepreneur at all. The mission of her company – using nuclear energy to provide electricity to the underprivileged is merely elaborated in dialogue and no effort is made to substantiate it visually. The clichés are a bummer – the mother being painted as a tolerant figure, the brother being showcased as a drug addict and the father symbolising the chauvinistic male.
The regular use of voice-overs is irritating and hardly adds to the viewing experience. The show hurries through at a breathtaking pace, mostly at the cost of depth and nuance. The climax is unconvincing and fails to justify the credentials of the lead character. The transformation of the many problematic characters in the final episode is too hard to believe. 11th Hour is simplistic beyond necessity and loses its fizz too quickly to win your attention.
Although quite obvious, it needs to be said that Tamannah is the glue that holds the show together. She is quite a charmer as the corporate honcho who means business – the regal quality comes naturally to her and it’s a shame that the superficial writing limits the scope of her character. Arun Adith yet again proves that he’s one good project away from finding his sweet spot as an actor.
Vamshi Krishna fits the bill to play the estranged, notorious husband with ease. Jaya Prakash is surprisingly underwhelming in a poorly written role, and so do the likes of Pavitra Lokesh and Shatru who hardly have anything concrete to offer in the show. Priya Bannerjee, Srikanth Iyengar, Madhusudhan Rao are passable while they last.
Music & Other Departments
Most background scores make the mistake of being suggestive of how the audience is supposed to react to a situation. Composer duo Bharatt-Saurabh’s effort tries hard to overcome this obvious flaw within the limitations of the writing. The lavish, flamboyant execution complements the high-handedness of the story. The show progresses at a good pace but doesn’t build on its subplots that well. The detailing is poor and the many cinematic liberties don’t fit into the scheme of a web show.
- Tamannaah’s performance
- Interesting lead character
- Novelty in the genre for Telugu audiences
- Superficial execution
- Half-baked supporting characters
- Tone-deaf writing
Did I enjoy it?
Do I recommend it?