A gold digger with a manipulative, materialistic mind-set that is neatly and carefully hidden away underneath cloying saccharine sweetness, we all know. But a gold digger with a heart of gold, who unabashedly announces that she’s out to snare a man with money – that’s definitely a first.
In Fittrat, ALTBalaji and ZEE5’s latest web series to drop into the digital realm, Tarini Bisht (Krystle D’Souza) is just that – a self-confessed, unabashed gold digger. And it’s a goal she’s set herself when she’s just a chit of a girl.
Quite an intriguing premise for a web series, and an absolutely hat-ke one too. The 15-episode Fittrat has been produced by Tanveer Bookwala’s Ding Entertainment, a production house that has become synonymous with high quality productions and storylines with mass appeal.
So, as is our wont, here we are with our cracker of a review of this latest from the stables of the Tsarina of Content, Ms Ekta Kapoor.But before we begin, we would like to tip our hat to the think tank at ALTBalaji and ZEE5. Coz these folks have mastered the art of delivering winning web series, just as they had done it eons ago with the TV soap opera. Yes, they have elevated the production of web series to an exquisite art form, of which they are creator and master.If you may have noted, all web series to emerge from the house of ALTBalaji and ZEE5 have several things incommon.
The episodes are always short and peppy–18-20 minutes is primarily the run length of each.Despite the short episodes, every narrative and character is well-fletched out – no half-baked,abrupt storylines, or random entries and exits of characters in their stories. The production values are always lavish and high quality–each element of each web series looks classy, with not an iota of mediocrity about anything.The storylines and plots are always gripping, and each is as diverse as they come, straddling various genres effortlessly. And lastly, the cast and characterization is bang on target each time – each actor is carefully cherry-picked for a certain role and narrative.
Net result – a vast repertoire of web content that is as engaging as it is entertaining; as classy as it is massy; and as watchable, even if sometimes predictable. That said, let’s take a deep dive into the world of Tarini Bisht and her merry bunch. So here’s laying it bare for what’s terrific and what’s tacky about Fittrat. Read on to find out – Tarini Bisht is a precocious, motherless child, but not unloved in any way.
She’s got her Alok – her father (Mohit Chauhan, don’t confuse him with the eponymous and more famous singer), whom she addresses by name, and who pours love by the loads on his dear daughter.
The rapport shared by the father-daughter is a delight to watch, even though the ruse of Tarini addressing her father by his name is a blatant rip-off from Sonam Kapoor’s similar character trait in Khoobsurat – Sonam addresses her mom by her name in that one.To come back to the narrative, Tarini has seen her father lose his money, precious possessions and even their home in her childhood. She decides that all she wants from life is to get married to a rich man and have all the money in the world at her disposal.
Her father, an artist, takes up residence at the snooty Mussoorie Residential School as an art teacher, and Tarini gets admission into the school as a teacher’s kid. This is where she meets the ultra-rich Amrita Sareen (Anushka Ranjan), daughter of legit Delhi glitterati parents, Janki and Tekchand Sareen (Divya Seth and Kaizaad Kotwalrespectively). Amrita and Tarini become BFFs, enjoying the kind of friendship every girl in the world dreams of, but only a lucky few get. Amrita, lovingly called Amy by those close to her, accepts Tarini the way she is, gold-digging nature and all.
Tarini’s nature is also where the title of the series comes from – Fittrat is Hindi for ‘inherent nature’.Years pass, the girls grow up and go their separate ways – Tarini passes out from her journalism studies as a gold medallist; Amy, being a part of Delhi’s upper crust, tours the world and emerges as the quintessential Page 3 fashionista. But, through it all, their friendship stays intact and steadfast –even in the face of Janki Sareen’s dislike for the decidedly downmarket Tarini.
However, trouble brews in their friendship when Amy’s fiancé Veer Shergill (Aditya Seal) falls for Tarini’s charms. He wants her with a passion that manifests as a tick in the physical form – he has a constant itch in his palm that aggravates whenever he sets eyes on Tarini. Tarini, of course, keeps him at arm’s length, out of loyalty to her best friend.
The narrative goes through a series of absorbing twists, turns and tribulations, before hurtling towards a climax that is as compelling and captivating as it can get. Finally, Tarini ends up discovering that the only true gold that is worth digging for is the gold within oneself. As she says in the end, “I am my own hero”. It is an empowering thought, and the narrative takes the classic route to reach this inspiring conclusion. We say classic, because it has all the essentials that make it a typical formulaic narrative.
There is love, passion, betrayal, plotting and scheming, revenge, misunderstanding, and finally, redemption –all the elements that make up the Great Indian Soap Opera. Classic though the story may be, it displays numerous facets to the storytelling – diverse shades and layers – that keep viewers engaged and invested in the narrative.
It’s the treatment given to the plot, and the depth in the emotions on display, that make Fittrat stand out from the crowd. Every aspect of the account is rife with passion and sentiment. There is so much happening, and at so many levels – each, with its own fervour and feeling. Suffice to say that, in Fittrat, there’s nothing that’s mellow or soft or warm. Everything is fierce, intense and sizzling hot. Be it the fierce loyalty and friendship shared between the two lissom lasses Tarini and Amy; or the searing chemistry between Tarini and Veer; or the passionate desire that Veer has for Tarini, that doesn’t let him do anything in peace – yes, everything is fierce, intense and sizzling hot. The acting lends heft to the passionate storyline. Krystle D’Souza is superb as Tarini. The role seems to be tailor-made for her, that’s how good she is in the character. Aditya Seal is sexy, charming and
conveys the character of a love-and-desire-addled guy with passion. The combination of his soft chocolate-boy charm and the depth of intensity in his eyes as he looks at Tarini with desire is devastating. We’re sure many a girl must have fallen for the guy like a ton of bricks after watching him in Fittrat.
Anushka Ranjan impresses with her acting and striking presence. The lady is tall, graceful and stately – a notable addition to the milieu of the Indian acting and content space. The ensemble cast of the show gives ample support to the proceedings. Kaizaad Kotwal steals the show as the hard-nosed businessman Tekchand Sareen.
His character arc – the way he goes from being the hen-pecked lovable dad figure, to shrewd and vindictive businessman – is quite interesting. Aru Krishansh Verma, as Amy’s brother Bunty, is cute, lovable and a calming presence in the sea of turmoil that is Fittrat. Divya Seth and Kitu Gidwani are perfectly cast as Delhi’s snooty socialites, turning their noses up at the hoi polloi.
Santosh Singh has done a marvellous job at directing the series. He wields a deft hand, steering the narrative with consummate skill. The dialogues of Fittrat are its high point, as is the cinematography. Anubhav Bansal imbues the frames with dreamlike surrealism and beauteous elegance. The green locales of Mussoorie and the posh environs of Delhi all benefit from Bansal’s nifty skills.
Even Tarini’s pigeonhole of a home looks warm and inviting. And now, ladies and gentlemen, for the most stunning aspect of the series – the heavenly musical score. The songs are soothing, soulful and stirring. Each number, in turn, soothes, haunts, impassions and inspires. Manmuradein, by Anusha Mani and Vivek Hariharan; Naznina, by Altamash Faridi and Jonita Gandhi; and O Panchi Re, by Vivek Hariharan, are especially outstanding.
Expert music composer Sandman, aka Sandip Patil, has outdone himself with the score of Fittrat. The music is almost an entity in itself in the series, lending both style and substance to the chronicle. That’s another thing that’s different about ALTBalaji and ZEE5’s digital shows – the inclusion of a full-fledged musical score. Fittrat’s music is brilliant, to say the least. The series deserves a second season, if only to further explore the intense chemistry between Veer and Tarini. Nevertheless, Fittrat is a must-watch, and it will absolutely enhance the festive spirit and cheer of Diwali. Go watch it now, folks!
In the meanwhile, 3.5/5 is our rating for Fittrat.