Review of ALTBalaji’s latest web original Test Case

Review ALTBalaji’s Test Case: Bravo Zulu

ALTBalaji is finally addressing our longtime yearning for engaging web content beyond s*x and sleaze. After Bose: Dead Or Alive, soap Czarina, Ekta Kapoor, now comes up with the long-delayed full release of the 9-episode series, Test Case.

The Nimrat Kaur-led show bats for the induction of women in active combat roles. Juhi Chawla, as the defense minister, tricks the army head-honchos into accepting Captain Sharma into the Special Forces training, not knowing that she is a female.

Cut to the training centre, where we come across Shikha Sharma’s batch mates. There is Captain Rathod (Bhuvan Arora), who obviously doesn’t like women in combat roles or being given special privileges. Then there is Captain Bilal (Akshay Oberoi), who kind of takes a fancy to her, and gets annoyed when spurned. Captain Ranjeet Surjewala (Sumit Suri) does not have much of a role, but stands out as a cool officer and a gentleman.

On the opposite side of the fence, we have tough nut instructor, Bhatti (Rahul Dev), and camp head, Colonel Ajinkya Sathe (Atul Kulkarni). The cadets are pushed to their limits, and Shikha is stretched a tad more, to see if they/she wither under adverse conditions. It is fair policy, as, behind enemy lines, no quarter can be given or asked for.

Shikha is shown as a gutsy hard-working gal, who has her own family demons to exorcise, as she tries to break the defense-force glass ceiling. Her wearing a sport outfit while taking a shower in the men’s locker room is interesting (she bunks in the men’s dorm).

It is good to see Shikha giving back to the guys, like commenting on b***s being the weakest part of a man’s body, and also taking part in customary duels, like drinking binges, etc. She plays Rathod and gets him punished for reporting late the next morning.

In this battle of the sexes, the creative team rightly shows Shikha also making mistakes, which happens to the best of soldiers under fire.

She has a boyfriend, Shivalik Ahuja (Samir Kochhar), and is not a virgin, thank God for being real in relationship detailing. Hope our TV shows learn from this.

Something horrible happens in the toughest part of the drill– rightly called Dozak–shaking the army brass. Enter, poker player army officer, Imtiaz (Anoop Soni), to unravel the truth. He tries every trick in the book to make the concerned cadets, including Shikha, squeal. Kudos to Ekta for choosing the 35-year-old Nimrat as her Shikha, when nowadays, most leads are played by 18-24-year-olds. Experience counts guys, and Nimrat passes with flying colors.

We don’t want to reveal the ending, so no more story-telling.

Viewers of Test Case get to enjoy high drama and lots of action, making one want to watch the entire series in one go.

However, we were surely disappointed with the ending– personal agendas can’t compromise SF missions, which unfortunately does happen here. Could this have been avoided, had director Nagesh Kukunoor, who quit due to creative differences, been there?

Also, while batting for induction of women into combat operations, the narrative did not properly address the real fear of women officers/soldiers being taken captive. Torture of POWs is common, and in the case of women, sexual assault can be added to the list of barbarity committed in the heat of battle.

Last but not the least, as it happens in most male-driven shows, where the girl is side-stepped, here the same is with Samir Kochhar. They did not even bother to show how they mended fences after a bad fight.

Agreed, bloomers are common in TV as well, but we expect better from web-makers, as they have the liberty of time to work on the scripts.

Overall, Test Case is a mature storytelling and we would rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars.