‘PariWar’ on Hotstar: Good idea, bad execution
Featuring a talented ensemble cast, the Sagar Ballary-helmed ‘PariWar’ had given rise to high expectations before it began streaming on Disney Hotstar. Sadly, the 6-episode series is a letdown
Sagar Ballary had announced his arrival with Bheja Fry, the laugh-a-second comedy that had charmed filmgoers nationwide. More than a decade after its release in 2007, those who had seen the film still remember Bharat Bhushan, its Everyman protagonist played with sparkling brilliance by Vinay Pathak.
Featuring a talented ensemble cast, the Ballary-helmed PariWar created by Arre Studios had given rise to high expectations before it began streaming on Disney Hotstar. Sadly, the six-episode series is a letdown.
PariWar is nowhere near as engaging as it could have been because the writing (Gaganjeet Singh, Shantanu Anam) is an outcome of baffling intentions.
Does the series aspire to be a comedy or a family drama that combines a bit of humour with a dose of moralising? As it turns out, the series comes across as one trying to be the latter, an approach resulting in a screenplay with few engaging moments,
The plot is set in an antiquated mansion in Prayagraj in which lives an old widower Kashiram Narayan (Gajraj Rao wearing a lousy wig) with his domestic help Babloo (Kumar Varun). Kashiram has three children, and he is desperate to make them visit him.
One day, he pretends to fall ill. His children receive the message and turn up in Prayagraj to meet their apparently ailing father. Mahipal (Yashpal Sharma), the eldest, doesn’t have a job and lives in Banaras. Shishupal (Ranvir Shorey), the next living in Mumbai, is stuck in the job of the assistant to his boss who forces him to do petty assignments he detests. Mandakini (Nidhi Singh), the youngest, works as a chef in the United States. Mahipal is married to Manju (Anurita Jha) and Shishupal to Anju (Sadia Siddiqui), both responsible women who find themselves in relationships with self-centred and greedy husbands.
Kashiram has inherited an expensive plot of land from his father. Selling it to build a cement factory can fetch money in crores, which the two sons want. Kashiram, on the other hand, wants to donate it to build a widowers' home. The daughter, however, is barely involved in the domestic war while her romance with Munna (Abhishek Banerjee), an old friend and nurse, gradually blooms.
Munna’s father Gangaram (Vijay Raaz), a theatre artist and director, is the root cause of a major problem. Kashiram trusts him and believes that Gangaram can help him fulfil his dream of building the home. That the sons hate Gangaram is, therefore, hardly surprising.
The basic idea of the plot is loaded with the possibility of creating gut-busting scenarios, and it is a pity that these fail to take shape. Despite the uninspiring writing, Ranvir Shorey and Vijay Raaz rise above the screenplay to provide some moments of sheer delight on the small screen. Saddled with a half-baked role, Rao struggles to make an impact. Same is the case with Yashpal Sharma, who overacts and fails to convince. Nobody else leaves a mark.
PariWar is an instance of how a promising idea snowballs into a failure because of unfulfilled possibilities. Watch it only if you wish to see how Shorey and Raaz struggle to make it work.