Indian digital content seems to be getting plagued by the same, me too syndrome, which has afflicted both cinema and TV over the years.
New MX player series Raktanchal toes the usual badland badass desi dishkiyaaon route in an attempt to repeat the success of Sacred Games and more so, Mirzapur.
UP (Poorvanchal) and its rustic rugged setting is favourite among creators. The Wild Wild West of India.
Raktanchal meaning a province dipped in blood has a very typical eighties story. Meet promising young man Vijay Singh (Kranti Prakash Jha) whose father is killed by coal mine goon headed by Wasim Khan(Nikitin Dheer)
Vijay then takes gory revenge and lands up in jail, where he meets another gangster who helps him start a rival gang to take on the old order.
His first significant action is broad daylight shoot out in the tainted auction drama. Both sides enjoy the patronage of local politicians with roots to the administration in Lucknow. Total domination seems to be the order of the day, reminding us of the film Saher.
Like in every show, you have a good mother who throws out the son, when he crosses the line. Here the bad guys raid Vijay’s sister Gauna (going home as the bride) shooting the old lady and the groom in the process. The scared groom calls off the wedding (can’t blame the poor bloke). The sister seemed to be missing her brother more than worrying about married life.
The narrative also depicts rigging of the election (ballot box time) and age policy of sparking communal riots by throwing animal carcasses at a religious place. Add to it local godman, who like pretty Bollywood women.
Interestingly there was no cop angle at all with only goons going about their nasty business with elan.
There is no sex but too much abuse, agree you won’t mind your P’s and Q’s when gunning down your enemy, yet beyond a point, it just turns you off. The makers have added item numbers to complete the gangland feel.
You did get the eighties nostalgia complete with the correct backdrop.
As usual, a woman is used as bait to snare the rival gang. With Sanki (Vikram Kochhar) getting honey-trapped by Seema
There is not much scope of acting having only blood and gore. Nikitin does not go all out. Vikram brings out the betrayed lover’s angst well. Kranti’s lines did not give him much chance apart from having a scowl on his face.
You end up with a headache with too much blood and swear. Could the concept of crime not paying been presented in a more measured way?
Also, the entire series could have been wrapped up in six rather than nine episodes dropping some repetitive elements.
We would rate of 2.5 out of 5 stars.