Premiere Date: 11-02-2020
What is the Story about:
An ancient precious painting, worth a few lakhs is out for auction by the Government. A gang of thieves tries to get hold of it for the money they will get selling it and on the other side, a big shot family chases it for their honour. With a couple of subplots, all the 6 episodes are narrated in the non-linear pattern.
Guru Somasundaram plays a politician, he strikes the right chord with a performance which is very apt for his role. Harish Uthaman is ‘Top’, the leader of the robbery gang. Since his character is not established powerfully, his acting doesn’t really shine out. Arun Alexander, the talented ‘Maanagaram’ movie actor gets meaty roles here, yes, he plays the twin brothers. There is a contrast in their characters and he has perfectly shown variations through his solid performance. The other characters are mostly new faces, certain actors feel misfit but it is fine on the whole as some of the newbies impress a lot, especially the crazy screaming sidekick in Arun Alexander’s gang.
Simple script narrated in the zic-zac pattern is interesting and also the boring part of the series. A couple of backstories are strong and worth to be showcased in an above-said manner, but the portions which are weakly written give no impact and leaves nothing but disappointment post the big reveal. The world that director Dinesh Mohan has created is unique, it is also weird at places. No one but the criminals in the story has focus, there is not even a single Policeman involved in the subject. However, the writer in Dinesh Mohan is clever than the filmmaker in him. He did not miss out on any dots to connect, the links with respect to the characters and conflicts are smartly placed.
Whatever the situations demand, artists deliver it through dialogues. A creator gets full freedom to explore in the digital space, we do hear a lot of bad words, but none of them is force-fit, credits to the actors for delivering them naturally, with the flow. Dialogues in some serious sequences provide laughter that ticks the dark-comedy space as well. The ‘News 3’ debate scene that features popular YouTube anchor Avudaiyappan is the best example of the amount black-comedy the show provides.
Cameramen Viswesh and Vishal Vijayan are very neat with their lens work. They have maintained a proper colour tone throughout and that has helped to improve the quality of the visual treatment. The period that appears for a short span is nicely captured too.
Amrit Rao’s background score is a spoilsport. He has overdone with heavy drums work at places. Each episode has a crazy moment that is delivered with a song, different tracks for each episode. The idea is innovative, but the songs aren’t really impressive. More than the music, the singers make the final output dull.
Jomin’s editing plays a major role as the narration is non-linear as told before. He has meticulously brought in the break moments. Though there are abrupt jump cuts in certain parts, his work has definitely helped the director’s vision big time. But unfortunately, the flow lacks enough exciting high points, so we did not get to see every episode ending with a bang.
The production value seems to be good as the quality never deteriorated. Applause to the technicians who utilized the budget and maintaining the standard well.
The painting is the unique selling point of the story, also the mystery factor maintained until a point without revealing the stuff in the painting holds tightly. Though Guru Somasundaram is introduced right at the beginning, he comes into the limelight only after a couple of episodes, from that point, after the establishments are done, the pace is gripping and the what-next element frequently pops out. Also, the contrast of ideas between different characters is shown clearly, also their play with the painting towards the end is fun. Thumbs-up to the idea of bringing an imaginary Chinese character that moves the story forward.
As said earlier, the zic-zac narrative pattern tones down the intensity at some areas where the story conveyed is not up to the mark. Certain details aren’t really required to justify the main plot too, they just appear as fillers. With this one-line, these many characters and subplots, it should have been a kick-ass product to watch. But sadly, the new-age ideas stay just as ideas and not as powerful sequences. The excitement that rides seeing its writing is just not there on-screen. The small twists that are revealed at regular intervals are not great enough to hit the bulls-eye.
The title ‘Topless’ is beautifully justified, in-fact it is one of the surprising points in the storyline. The ending is just half-baked. The story might tend to be concluded completely, but it isn’t. The in-depth chapters are left abruptly without having a pleasing finish.
The icing on the cake:
A bunch of interesting plot-points misses out to excite due to a middling execution.
Rating: 2.5/ 5