Mon. Jun 14th, 2021

A dead body and two suspects. There is the obvious one who looks guilty from the word go, and then there is the mysterious one with hidden motives. Are both of them involved in the murder? Or, are they just the usual suspects and there is more to it than meets the eye?

Sunflower, the latest ZEE5 web series, created by Vikas Bahl, pulls you in from the beginning. A suburban residential society faces chaos as a resident, Raj Kapoor, is murdered and police start their investigation.

Sales manager Sonu Singh (Sunil Grover) is the obvious suspect, with evidence stacked against him. Kapoor’s neighbour Dr Ahuja (Mukul Chaddha) is also on the radar for his suspicious behaviour. As investigating inspector Digendra (Ranvir Shorey) begins his investigation, it is only Tambe (Girish Kulkarni) who seems to be above suspicion. The case gets trickier with Kapoor’s wife, played by Shonali Nagrani, entering the scene.

The trait of the best mystery thrillers is that you can’t see the twists coming from a mile off. They hide their secrets well, but at the same time, lets you satisfy your crime-solving, clue-finding itch. If they make it too tough, frustration sets in; too easy and you get bored. Sunflower tries to walk this fine line, but it is not a smooth journey.

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In one of his interviews, ahead of Sunflower’s release, Sunil Grover said he cannot put the web series in a particular genre, as it has “thrill, humour and dark comedy.” While it doesn’t fit into all these brackets, Sunflower’s character development is its strength. Grover’s character of Sonu Singh takes the cake. Vikas Bahl has made him a perfect mix of quirkiness and innocence. He is not your usual neighbour or colleague. If at one moment you doubt his intentions, the very next moment you sympathise with him. It’s a pleasure to see Grover in a role of some substance.

Mukul Chadda as a school teacher intrigues you. He reacts impulsively and is short-tempered. He dominates his wife and blames her for putting his life in danger as she didn’t fast on Karva Chauth. With him, things are not what they seem, and he is not who he appears to be. But the suspense created through him doesn’t pan out, and you are left wanting.

Speaking of other characters, Ashish Vidhyarthi plays Dilip Iyer, a candidate for Sunflower’s chairmanship. Through him, the makers take a subtle dig at the prejudices that still prevail in the society — stigma around divorced women, single women, homosexuals and religions. Then there is his daughter Paddy Iyer (Ria Nalavde) who gives an insight into a young mind and the apprehensions of a youngster’s life. The characters of Gurleen and Justina are also an example of how women are stereotyped in our society.

sunflower web series cast Actor Ashish Vidyarthi in a still from Sunflower. (Photo: ZEE5)

Kudos to Bahl for giving us such edgy characters but interesting arcs apart, most of the characters and their subsequent plots do not not add anything substantial to the main plot, thus leaving the series without any real purpose. The eight-episode series intrigued me in in the beginning, but never delivered on its promise.

Sunflower could have been a zany ride replete with some quirky characters, but an overstretched plot fails to keep us hooked. It had a ton of potential that’s squandered away.

By admin

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