Sex, party and babes are the Gen Next staple; so Bar Code ticks all the boxes.

Ego is the biggest enemy of man. Well, this surely applies to new Hungama web series, Bar Code, focussing on pride hassles between rival club owning former friends (Karan Wahi and AkshayOberoi), which pushes them down the precipice. The setting is high end Mumbai, complete with babes, booze and dope.

On the face of it, Sahil Chopra (Akshay) does not seem wrong, for he had put up the money for their first club and had Vicky Arora (Wahi, as Karan is known) stayed the course, would things have gone south?

After a long time, we got to see Wahi in a performance-oriented role. He is bringing out the required angst and hatred with élan. This role might open the doors for him for bigger film stuff as well. Till now, he was not really the only main guy in the fray. Also, with passing time, he is finally shedding the kiddish look, and looking like a dashing hard-core dude.

Akshay is also doing a fine job. Sahil is kind of restrained as opposed to Wahi, and Akshay is doing it well.

The show is indeed bold (love-making scenes), but they don’t go down to the level of frontal nudity, a la Sacred Games. There is lot of sex talk (something is hard), but that is how youngsters talk these days.

The show also brings into sharp focus the issue of East European girls being branded as hookers in the Mumbai party chatter. Can this be called out as racial profiling in today’s highly politically correct times?

The pace is engaging, as the two friends-turned-foes use every trick in the book to get the other down, i.e. using tainted cops to shut the other down on prostitution and drug charges.

Simran Kaur Mundi’s airhostess character (Rhea Malhotra) is quite complex. On the one hand she breaks up with Sahil for his non-committal nature, yet comes back asking for an open thingy. But she still can’t get over him, spurns a pilot’s proposal and now wants to be exclusive again. Such confused state of affairs is common with today’s youth.

Sadly ,Minaz Kataria (Parina Chopra), on the other hand, who is committed to Vicky, is not happy either, due to his anger issues. Her convo with her friend, who tells her – so what if I have five guys in two years, yet I am happy – was deep. It also shows how friendships get turned –Minaz was first Sahil’s friend, yet she chose her guy, when push came to shove.

While Parina is doing a good job, we feel she needs to work on her voice modulation, which sometimes spoils the seriousness of the scene.

The supporting characters are interesting as well. We have Vicky’s friend, Micky (Rohan Khurana), whose only funda in life is to get laid; yet, no girl gives him a second glance forcing him to spin yarns about doing women left, right and centre.

The firing guest profiler is interesting; she picks out the bad apples from a distance. Wonder will her character have more juice as the story unfolds.

Newbie Teena Singh has a small role; but she makes an impact.

Bharat Dhabolkar is good as the no-nonsense association chief, who reads the riot act to both Vicky and Sahil, forcing them to pipe down. His line, that we know seniors of the cops who you are playing with, was the clincher.

Vibhav Roy as Sahil’s Man Friday also stands out in the clutter.

There were a lot of scenes where Vicky was puffing away to glory. Agreed you fag to loosen tension; yet, such portrayal of the rich and powerful encourages young kids to take to the butt in the first place.

Director Vignesh Shetty has done a good job of keeping the 10-episode series taut. You don’t feel bored, as something keeps happening every other minute. The length of the initial episodes was a bit long, but then they tapered it down. Guess they first want to hook the audiences. The narrative was a tad short on desi emotions, reminiscing about the past while topping the glitz and glamour chart.

The cinematography is also spot on and nothing seems extra and jarring in the props.

Bar Code makes for an interesting watch and does inject a promising push to Hungama’s original ambition

We would rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars.


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