The makers of the recently released Telugu series, Workout Ayyindhi (meaning ‘this has worked out’), must have considered the title, not because of the confidence they have in their content, but because it’s the only way to mislead a viewer into watching it. This is one web series that gets nearly every aspect of filmmaking wrong. Poor acting, vague storyline, painfully slow-paced narration and amateurish execution – this vicious combination makes it a perfect recipe for a disaster.
The show revolves around Krishna Manohar, an introverted software employee, leading an insecure life in isolation – bottling up his thoughts, hardly interacting with his brother or friends. In the middle of an unsuccessful quest for a bottle of beer late into the night, a mysterious woman helps his cause. He later meets her (supposedly a psychiatrist) at his office, only to be surprised that she doesn’t recognise him at all. Meanwhile, a small-time goon and a prostitute attempt to murder him. Shockingly enough, his brother is found dead soon. There’s a book that serves as a link to the incidents. How does Krishna connect the dots?
The series is literally ambiguity-personified. The narrative jumps from one sequence and one subplot to the other without any context. Never has any Telugu show appeared so disjointed. There’s no clarity in what the director (B Shiva Kumar) wishes to tell. Surprisingly, the show lasts lesser than two hours but nothing in it appears concrete.
A subplot is about an ever-stressed husband cribbing about the various guests of his wife who keep draining his financial resources. A 20s something woman is a kleptomaniac, much to the concern of her CEO-sister. There’s a thread about a supposed scam about delivery guys employed by online pharmaceutical portals. The elder brother of a popular author consults psychiatrist about the latter’s sluggish novel-writing pace in the last few months besides expressing concerns about his unusual behaviour (what on earth was that?).
None of these issues makes sense in an unnecessarily convoluted narrative and it appears as if the writer had imagined the plot in a vacuum. The climax tries to pin these subplots together, but the damage is already done. The digital medium has given a license to tell stories without barriers and Telugu digital space appears to be in a sorry state of affairs with regard to ‘creative freedom’. There’s no trace of craft in the filmmaking – even short films today are shot better and have more imaginative plots.
Gayathri Gupta, a familiar face in the series and one who could have given some respite amid the mediocre bunch of actors, gets a silly role. Choreographer Anee Lama, who makes her acting debut through the show, gets immense screen-space - precisely telling you why she shouldn’t ‘attempt’ to act again. The supposed lead actor Rupesh Kumar Choudhary is a major cause for concern – he can’t emote or react to situations, struggles with his lines and proves to be a major casting disaster. There’s a hint of a second season too and that’s a major cause for worry!