Tabbar (2021) Review

Pavan Malhotra is superb in this gripping family thriller

Rony Patra -

Tabbar (2021) Review
Sony Liv
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Original Series Review
Movie Rated

What is the story about?

Omkar, a retired police officer, and Sargun, his wife, are forced to cover up the accidental murder of Maheep, the brother of anti-drug crusader Sodhi, at the hands of Happy, Omkar's elder son, due to a stash of cocaine that lands up at his house by mistake. With Sodhi hell-bent on finding out his brother's killers while battling political rivalries, and the police starting to investiate, how far will Omkar and his family go to cover up the truth?


What happens when you spend time with a happy family, and helplessly watch as they implode, thanks to the weight of a decision that changes their lives forever? At a time when Netflix India is making waves with its documentary series on the Burari deaths, SonyLIV's Tabbar seems like another attempt to talk about the dark side of family values, and how sometimes they can completely dull all sense of right or wrong. Creator Harman Wadala teams up with noted director Ajitpal Singh to bring this Jalandhar-set thriller to life, but this unfolds slowly, incorporating both Shakespearean machinations and the horrors of Punjab's dreaded drug menace, to tell the story of a family free-falling. You see a father becoming more and more unhinged, as he tries to justify his new-found criminal instincts for the love of his sons, and a mother who loses herself even more and more in guilt. This is an extremely dark show, but it is one of the finest in recent times.


As he showed earlier this year in Disney+ Hotstar's GrahanPavan Malhotra is an actor who never really got his due in the last few years. It is his guilt and bumbling attempts to save his family that form the bedrock of Tabbar's convoluted story, and the actor is in terrific form here. He is ably complemented by Supriya Pathak Kapur's Sargun, whose mental disintegration over the course of the show is heartbreaking to watch. Gagan Arora and Sahil Mehta are solid as Happy and Tegi, Omkar's sons. Ranvir Shorey is menacing as Sodhi. Another actor to watch out for is Paramvir Singh Cheema as Lucky, Omkar's police-officer nephew who suspects his uncle may be up to no good. The rest of the cast is decent.

Music & Other Departments

Mukesh Chhabra's casting has to be one of the best efforts for any digital series this year, with not a single false note coming from any of the characters. Arun Kumar Pandey's cinematography is thoroughly muted, lending a strange sense of foreboding right from the first frame.


  • The gripping story
  • Pavan Malhotra as Omkar
  • Supriya Pathak Kapur as Sargun
  • The seamless blending of Punjab's drug problem with the story


Ahuja and Sodhi's characters could have been given more heft, but this is a minor niggle.

Did I enjoy it?

I was hooked.

Do I recommend it?


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