When web series had first started a little while back, they appeared to be just what the doctor ordered for youth like us, who could not identify with saas-bahu politics.
Yet, sadly, in a short while, it has kinda meandered into the excessive sex and abuse route, which personally, is a big turn off. For if you want to watch just love-making, there are sundry porn websites around. We tune into digital content for entertainment, which obviously goes beyond just sex.
In this scenario, Viu comes across as an OTT platform addressing our above concerns, via shows like Memories, and now its latest presentation, Truth or Tamanna? and even Love, Lust and Confusion, though it was a bit in the explicit category.
In a nutshell, Tamanna (7 episodes have been uploaded so far) traces a documentary filmmaker, Dhruv (Priyanshu Jora), and his desperate search for his missing dancer girlfriend, Tamanna (Vrushika Mehta). As the episodes go on, he comes to know that he actually knows nothing about her.
He even goes undercover in the dance academy she works, coming across a web of deceit, one-upmanship (fellow dancer hates her for taking her place) and crime (drug peddling, in which Tamanna, being a junky, gets involved).
Kudos to Kushal Punjabi for playing the egoistic and self-serving, gay academy head, Kaizad Poonawala, to the T. He has a lot to hide, including a history with Tamanna.
Dhruv is helped in this task by his friend Jackie (Mansi Rachh). She goes out on a limb for him, yet he seems to take undue advantage of her, i.e. ditching her in the police station at night, when he goes off with Tamanna’s brother, Randhir (Sachin Verma). Randhir saves him after he gets arrested for trying to break into the shrink’s office where Tamanna is seeking treatment. Hope Jackie gets more to do, for Mansi’s graph (lead role in film Charlie Kay Chakkar Mein) is much bigger than her character’s current billing. An interesting preview even has Jackie being involved in putting Tamanna in problem.
Randhir’s is another complex character. Although, on the face of it, he loves his kidnapped sister (all think she has eloped to London), he does have issues. He had a thing with item girl Misha (Sakshi Pradhan), which went south, and now wants partner Kaizaad to fire her from an event. Misha too has a big axe to grind with Tamanna, thinking she took her brother away from her. Interestingly, she has got a mole inside Tamanna’s gang. We suspect Misha’s character will have many skeletons coming out of the closet. Sakshi, who became known after dare bare avatar in Ragini MMS Returns, is doing a good job as the jilted woman.
Priyanshu Jora is spot on as the lead; no unnecessary drama– just sticking to his job. This web series could be Priyanshu’s potentially game-changer, for till now he has not got a major hit under his belt (last show, Bade Bhaiyya Ki Dulhania, sank without a trace).
Although Vrushika Mehta is the lead and the whole story revolves around her, she is hardly seen. Agreed, she is held hostage and they have shown her trying to escape. We still expected more flashback scenes with her brother and the dance academy. The makers should also have taken more advantage of Vrushika’s dancing skills– the only time she was seen shaking a leg on screen was in the flash mob dance sequence, in the very first episode.
What we like best is that no character is a babe in the wood. They all have axes to grind, making it tough to guess who the bad guy/girl is. Just one thing– till now, Dhruv’s character is all good. Hope they add some dark layers to him as well.
Also, the unravelling of characters are happening at a nice speed. Having said that, they could have made the series shorter. Already, being a weekly, the required punches (to compel you to come back week after week) might have been a tad less in the initial episodes. We only started getting hooked by the fourth episode. No wonder, most series these days open with high drama itself.
Given the dance format and Bollywood angle, they could have easily shown lots of sex and justified it as needed by the script; but they did not so, and this needs to be saluted. Frames Productions (helmed by Hemant Ruprell and Ranjeet Thakur) that has made a mark in the non-fiction space, had self-confidence; hence, refused to go along the beaten track. Also, playing out a web-series with the backdrop of a musical and dance ambience is certainly fresh, and kudos for that!!
Further, unlike most other web makers, Frames has shown trust in TV actors. This also makes business sense, for TV actors not only come cheaper, as compared to known B-towners, but also bring a lot of youth fan following (the essential web TG) to the table as well.
All in all, we have enjoyed Tamanna so far, and are waiting anxiously to find out who really kidnapped her and why.
IWMBuzz.com gives Truth or Tamanna?, 4 out of 5 stars.