TV Review: Arjun

Star Plus, Saturday and Sunday, 8pm

Rating: **

The series revolves around Arjun, a fearless cop who takes on Mumbai’s crime world. A tormented man who lost his wife two years ago, Arjun reluctantly takes back his role in the Emergency Task Force (ETF) after having been banished for his unorthodox ways of working; his mind is set on cleaning up the system, even single-handedly if required. With each episode dedicated to a different case, the first two are based on prostitution and honour killing, even as the primary characters Arjun, Sameer Rathore and Riya develop. That the hero has a back story is made obvious, and apart from the episodic action, the makers want the audience hooked as they unravel his past.

Shaleen Malhotra, a former Roadies finalist, is the eponymous Arjun and Behzad Khan is the ETF chief Sameer Rathore, with whom he shares a strained relationship. The rest of the ETF team members play other recurring characters — Sana Khan as Riya, the recent recruit and Arjun’s possible love interest; Ketan Karande as Chotu with a big built; and Siddharth Sen is the geeky gadget-savvy Shree.

Arjun’s character is larger-than-life, at least by Indian television standards, and it doesn’t compromise on that. Arjun’s only competition, after all, is CID’s quirky ACP Pradyuman on Sony. Budgets have not been spared. The first episode moves from Mumbai to Goa, where the climactic action takes place in some shady areas, where most people would fear to tread. In the second episode, the ETF in their hunt for the honour killers, reach the deserts of Rajasthan. The show succeeds in its aim to make all things look glossy, even if it’s just for effect.

Watching an episode of Arjun requires suspension of disbelief on part of viewers, however, the makers take it a step too far. With weak plots, poor acting and half-hearted attempts on subjects such as flesh-trade and honour killing, it wants itself to be taken seriously. The ETF uniformly wears aviator glasses, dresses up like event organisers and operates a phone-tapping device that looks like a DJ console. In order to make Arjun look intelligent, the rest of the ETF is made to look otherwise. As a result, it becomes hard to invest emotions in any of the characters.

If you are looking for a gun-toting eye candy, then the snazzy camera cuts and the fashionable ETF team might give you a reason to watch, especially Malhotra’s stubble-conscious machismo in slow motion action.

VERDICT: Weak plots and poor acting.


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