POISON REVIEW - VERY SLOW POISON

POISON REVIEW - VERY SLOW POISON

Production House: Altus Media Cast: Arbaaz Khan, Tanuj Virwani, Freddy Daruwala, Riya Sen, Ruhani Sharma Dialogues: Deepak Kingrani, Jay Bansal Music: Sanchit Balhara, Srijan Vinay Vaishnav Cinematography: Yashveer Singh Editing: Abhijeet Deshpande Producers: Pournima Pendke, Bhakti Pendke Story:Shiraz Ahmed Direction: Jatin Wagle Premiere date: April 19, 2019 Story: Ranveer, after serving a seven-year jail term is on a quest to seek revenge against those who caused misery in his life. After callously murdering a lawyer on a fateful night, Ranveer escapes the sight of cops and sells his old plot to settle in Goa. He buys a lavish sea-facing villa and his neighbour is the toughie-cop Vikram, who lives with his wife and two sisters in a plush plot. Vikram's arch-rival is Antonio Verghese, a gangster in the garb of a businessman. These are men who have their shades of grey and come with a mysterious past. How will fate bind them together and will Ranveer be successful in his pursuit? A simple, straightforward story is needlessly complicated with too many a sub-plot and the best portions are reserved for the final episodes, by which, a viewer loses interest in the series. Artistes’ Performances: While the screenplay of the series is already convoluted enough, one would have at least expected the performances in the series to hold the fort. Poison is full of wannabes and failed actors who have no sense of composure and ease with their portrayal. Tanuj Virwani, the lead actor, can't quite handle the various dimensions in the role he's presented with. Although he appears handsome and delivers his lines well, Tanuj's performance lacks the intensity and depth that his parts demands and he appears too conscious and overwhelmed to spearhead the series on his own shoulders. Riya Sen and Arbaaz Khan too aren't quite the actors who could rescue poor content with their mettle. It doesn't help their plight that they get terribly under-written roles. The stylists of the actors do a better job than the actors themselves, by designing the corporate look with utmost panache. Freddy Daruwala appears too stiff and reluctant while playing his cop role and though his physicality works for the part, he appears miscast. Ruhani Sharma shows flashes of brilliance in her performance, but there's very little in her role that adds any value to the series. Every other role has its shade of grey and their uni-dimensional nature doesn't provide much scope for a good performance.   Technical Merit- Direction: Marathi film director Jatin Wagle, with several credible projects in his kitty, tests new waters in the digital medium with Poison. Honestly, this isn't a work he'd be proud of. Poison feels like a muddled mess that's never clear with its intent. The director preserves the core element of the story for his final episodes and by then, critical damage is done. There's no purpose, logic or basis to the proceedings for a significant part and the supposed-twist does little to revive the series. The establishment of the nexus between the police force, corporate sector, and mafia is quite vague. It's hard to believe how a jail-return could get back to his old-time house, sell it for a100 crores, get away with a murder charge and settle in Goa to establish a bar. The sexuality of the lead protagonist adds up to the confusion. The situations in the script are fragile and the execution, amateurish. Making it worse for the director is his actors, who are non-performers, mostly miscast for their roles. Jatin's series is part-thriller and part-drama and neither of these segments works. The flow goes for a toss and here's where some simplicity in the making could have salvaged its outcome.   Dialogues: Writer Shiraz Ahmed, who's built his career in the thriller space, has a script with reasonable potential that could have made for an engaging series. The series has scope for a few interesting dialogues, but blame it on the poor delivery, none of them make a profound impact when they're spoken on the screen. Cheesy lines like 'Revenge, badla, wo poison hai jo kisi ke andar chadhta toh badi tezi se hai, lekin utarte utarte jaan bhi le leta hai', 'Ladai me tabhi maza aata hai jab wo personal ho jaati hai' add some spice to the proceedings. But credible orators, actors to do the needful are amiss.   Cinematography: Most of the series is shot indoors and amid set-backdrops, which makes the content more or less redundant visually. The cinematographer often plays by the book when it comes to the lighting, the elevations, and the close-up shots. Some experimentation in the craft to capture Goa's scenic beauty and more authenticity to the crime backdrop would have provided more bite to the visual experience.   Music: Srujan Vinay's background score works well in terms of the tempo, but the execution of sequences is so uninspiring for the soundtrack to create an impact. Instead of using rehashed Bollywood tracks for the songs played at the clubs, the composer could have worked in producing some originals for the series. The title song is just about okay.   Editing: This is a series that could have worked with some damage control on the editing table. As of now, it only worsens the experience for the viewer. Most of the sequences lack cohesion and the series never feels like a single unit (of 11 episodes). Too many slow-motion shots only make for tiresome viewing. Production standards: Poison is a series shot under certain limitations and it shows on the screens. It doesn't have the slick quality that a thriller deserves. It appears very obvious that certain sequences have been shot on underwhelming, cardboard-like sets. Having a low-budget may be a constraint, but the makers shouldn't have made that very obvious in the execution.   Highlights: The final twist Top-notch production values Reasonable plot Drawback: Poor casting choices Half-baked characterisation Over-stretched and unnecessarily convoluted narration Over-the-top background score and treatment Analysis: Poison is a thriller that justifies its title, has a passable premise but the execution is very ambiguous. The director shouldn't have introduced so many characters in the screenplay when he can't handle their arcs with as much care. The character design of the lead protagonist Ranveer is a complete mess, be it his views on sexuality, bigamy or revenge. The portrayal of cops is very cliched and riddled with many cinematic liberties. The crime aspect in the story is a cause for unintentional humour; the goons in Goa look like a bunch of jokers and barely invincible. There are too many sub-plots in the story and they do not integrate well. Spanning over six hours across eleven episodes, Poison tests your patience. Icing on the cake: A pointless, over-stretched revenge drama Rating: 1.5/5


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