The biggest drawback most web series, other than those of international players like Netflix and Amazon Prime, have is budgets. This aspect has definitely affected Eros Now’s new spy series, Operation Cobra.
The web series viewer has already consumed the best of Yankee and B Town stuff, so when faced with a show that is not so great on production values (eg. climax with airplane scenes), it does have a jarring effect.
The story, in a nutshell, is that global jihadi organization RPG wants to steal a Soviet era nuclear detonator (now, where have we heard that one before?), which can trigger a worldwide apocalypse. But RAW superhero Karan (Gautam Gulati) pinches the suitcase and only Paris is reduced to cinders.
Karan is suspected of having turned traitor with the death of RAW tech wizard, Yousuf. You have the age old desh-bhakti dialogues. Here, his senior Rajbir (Tarun Khanna) comes to his rescue. Karan refuses to go back at first, but later relents, to avenge his fallen friend.
Now starts a cat and mouse game to get the England-based desi nuclear scientist who can rewire the bomb to destroy the whole world. The series brings home the point that no matter how patriotic you are, extreme third degree can make any one talk; and yes, once you squeal, you are no longer useful. They have also thrown in a sci-fi element where a human brain is put into a robot.
In a bid to retain viewer interest, the story moves very fast and wraps up in just 6 episodes, each of whose run length is also around 22 minutes, so it’s not too much of a time strain. Plus, as a lot of the shoot has been done in London, viewers get to see some interesting sights of the British capital as well.
While lead actor Gautam Gulati, who has finally surfaced after his Bigg Boss journey, is doing a good job, he has not been able to overcome the male TV habit of sulking 24*7. We prefer suaver and smiling spies, James Bond type heroes. The required swag is few and far between.
Here, the makers have eschewed the option of appealing to the lowest common denominator and filling the canvas with nudity and love-making scenes and could have justified the same on the pretext that the narrative needed it, but they did not it, so kudos.
Nyra Banarjee, last seen as a bisexual in ALTBalaji show, Zaban Sambhal Ke, is doing a good job as the negative lead, Tahira.
The lead girl, Riya (Ruhi Singh, Calender Girls and Spotboy 2), who works for the British spook agency, MI 6, appears in the third episode and joins hands with Karan to find the kidnapped scientist. She uses her glamour well in the casino scene.
We will not say more as that will spoil the suspense. TV actor Tarun has an interesting role. He had been unhappy for a while about desi content. But to be honest, even his character is nothing very new to write home about.
Given the ending, we have to assume that spooks have supernatural powers, but yes this happens with all spy stories. Without naming the character, was it not funny that a guy who sells his country for money is himself ready to trigger a nuclear device in the London tube? Did he not forget that if he does, he will also become an atom along with the city?
The editing is crisp and shot-taking, precise. Ideally, web series that don’t have huge budgets should go for more general topics that don’t require money to be thrown around left, right and centre.
Having said that, if you dig spy stuff, you should surely check out Operation Cobra, for it does keep one on the edge. You always want to know what happens next. The banter between Karan and Yousuf in the first episode was quite funny.
Both Nyra and Ruhi have acted well, although given the genre, there was no space for any real acting; but Ruhi did bring out emotions in the end.
In a bid to give the series a cinematic feel, the creatives have also added a music video at the end. Gautam does look film star material in it. Ruhi looked really hot and steamy in the other song, Let the Music Play. The lyrics in both were catchy.
The series has been directed well by Munesh Rawat. As said, Producers Eros Now, Velocity Films and DO It Creative could have done a better job.
IWMBuzz.com gives the Eros Now series, Operation Cobra 2 out of 5 stars.