What is the story about?
In 1993, encounter specialist DCP Samarth Kaushik of the Delhi Police and his team pursue a gang of kidnappers who have taken a hotelier hostage. Elsewhere, CBI analyst Ritesh Agarwal, who is investigating the murder of a slain CBI officer, gets some important leads. Shivani Bhatnagar, a hotshot news-anchor, starts receiving suspicious calls from a stalker. All three cases turn out to have a connection to a casino in Kathmandu, and may also be indirectly linked to a bomb blast in Mumbai with overtones of terrorism. Samarth and Ritesh pursue Sunny, the suave manager of the casino, and attempt to bring him to India for prosecution. But is Sunny really guilty, or is there more than one side to the truth?
If AltBalaji and ZEE5's Mai Hero Boll Raha Hu mined the 1990s for the gangsters, Kathmandu Connection decides to take off from the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. The impressive quality about Siddharth Mishra's tightly-wound screenplay is its assured tone. As Samarth and Ritesh plot and scheme to frame Sunny and bring him to justice, Mishra and director Sachin Pathak would have you believe you are watching a espionage thriller similar in tone to whatever Neeraj Pandey puts out. There are twists galore, but the twist in the series (or season?) finale yanks the carpet from under your seat, and makes you wonder about the story you've watched. It makes you believe in the fact that truth is relative, and what appears on the surface to be a cut-and-dry espionage drama switches tracks to become a revenge thriller. The episodes progress at a brisk pace, and the twists are very neatly done. The screenplay throws up gripping questions about love, duty and emotional manipulation in the span of six episodes, and the finale ends on a note that could either be considered as a final culmination or a warning about something else.
Amit Sial is dependable as the embattled Samarth, who gets obsessed with justice even when his own life is falling apart. Aksha Pardasany is assured as Shivani, who struggles with her own past even as she flourishes in her career. Anuraag Arora lends able support as Mishra, Samarth's colleague. Gopal Dutt is dignified as the no-nonsense CBI officer Ritesh. Zakir Hussain impresses as Mirza Baig in a cameo. But it is ultimately Anshumaan Pushkar's Sunny who becomes the dark horse of this series, with a chameleon-like performance that oscilllates between vulnerability and steely resolve.
Music & Other Departments
Arun Kumar Pandey's cinematography is excellent. Nikhil Parihar's editing adds flair to the narrative. A special word should be put in for Tasneem Khan's costume design, which is appropriate for the early 1990s. Sneha Khanwalkar's background score sets the mood for most of the show, and her composition Syaah, written by Raj Shekhar and sung by Rajan Batra, Sunetra Banerjee and Shrikant Krishna, becomes the highlight of the twisted narrative.
The twisted screenplay, the impressive production design, and the decent performances are the highlights of this hsow.
For the story to really interest you, you have to wait until the second half of Episode 3. The initial half of the series may appear slow to some.
Did I enjoy it?
Yes. I was not expecting the twist at the end.
Do I recommend it?
Yes. This is a gripping thriller that gradually grows on you.