Consummate filmmaker, Vikram Bhatt, never ceases to surprise us. For, surprise is the reigning emotion one feels, while binge-watching his latest web draw– Spotlight 2, on Viu.
In recent years, Bhatt has delivered multiple blockbuster web series, making the digital content space his favourite playing ground. He owns the medium like a savant, turning everything he touches into gold. However, almost all his web series have decidedly dark or erotic undercurrents, whether it be Maaya, Twisted, Tantra, Hadh, or any other, from his extensive body of digital work.
That is the reason why Spotlight 2 surprises us. This enthralling story, about the rise, fall and rise again of a gifted musician, is neither dark nor erotic, and entirely unlike any of his previous web work. It is clean, wholesome and engaging entertainment. Spotlight 2 does not make our heartbeats race in terror, nor does it get our adrenaline pumping with psychological mumbo-jumbo.
Instead, it gives us a demure, come-hither look, enticing us to marvel at its simplicity; sip at its minimalism; drown in its gentle storytelling. We resist, we protest, but ultimately, we end up rooting for the depraved musician, Vicky Verma. The outer-self hates Vicky’s guts, his shitty behaviour, his debauchery; and yet, each time he takes a step up the ladder of redemption, the inner-self wants to hoot, whistle and clap with glee.
Hats off to the story, for making us feel that way. Oh, and yes, Karan V Grover’s baby-faced innocence wins the day for him, making us cheer for him, despite the piece-of-crap character he plays. For Vicky happens to be just that– at least in the beginning.
Karan V Grover is brilliant in the lead role. Karan becomes Vicky. Vicky becomes Karan. And the two blur and merge in a way so astonishingly perfect, that one fails to distinguish who is who.
Spotlight 2 gives us a demure, come-hither look, enticing us to marvel at its simplicity; sip at its minimalism; drown in its gentle storytelling. We resist, we protest, but ultimately, we end up rooting for the depraved musician, Vicky Verma.
Aditi Arya is truly the find of the show. Yes, she was good in Tantra. But in Spotlight 2, she sparkles and shimmers with a dazzling incandescence. Her excellent acting chops, beauteous looks and a screen-presence that doesn’t need to scream, ‘hey, look at me, I’m here’, ensure that our eyes stay glued on Arya’s Jyotika (shortened to Jo), whenever she’s in the frame. She’s a natural before the camera. With her talent and looks, it’s a wonder she’s still not been snapped up by a major TV production house.
The chemistry between the two lead actors is palpable, with all credit going to Karan for that. The longing, smouldering looks he casts the way of Aditi’s Jo, burn the screen with their red-hot intensity. It is a great pairing, in our opinion.
Ruhi Singh’s hard-nosed business-woman turn is pretty good in the beginning, but gradually degenerates into pathetic mediocrity. A little bit of tempering in her acting would have ensured that she appeared less like a crazed shrew, and more like the burning-with-envy business-woman she is supposed to portray.
The supporting cast is superb too. The musical score, composed specially for the show, is fresh and melodious. The poignant numbers are reminiscent of the songs of Aashiqui 2 and Roy. That, along with the fast pace, subtle humour and great storyline, all adds up to make Spotlight 2 a highly watchable show.
Director Sidhant Sachdev excels in his art. Vikram Bhatt too applauded his effort by sharing on social media: “As rave reviews of #Spotlight2 come in, I am most proud of Sidhant Sachdev. This boy makes Gehraiyaan, Hadh, Tantra and the above in one year. A director with unending zeal, energy and vision. I am proud of you! Karan V Grover Aditi Arya. Binge the entire season here.”
Spotlight 2 surprises us. This enthralling story, about the rise, fall and rise again of a gifted musician, is neither dark nor erotic, and entirely unlike any of his previous web work. It is clean, wholesome and engaging entertainment
If there is one thing we didn’t like about the show, it is the copious use of expletives. The narrative is liberally peppered with f-words. Words like whore are also thrown in for good measure. Well, in our opinion, a good web series shouldn’t need the crutch of foul language to appear cool. The story and direction should alone ensure that the show appeals to the next-gen crowd. We shudder to think the impact of all those expletives on young, impressionable minds, who’ll be fooled into thinking that unless you pepper every sentence with an f-word, you ain’t cool enough. Ewww!
That said, Spotlight 2 is a super watch–captivating and binge-worthy. Catch it at the earliest, on Viu!
We would rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
(Written by Rashami Paharia)