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Bard of Blood: Web Series Review

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Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Sobhita Dhulipala, Vineet Kumar Singh, Kirti Kulhari, Jaideep Ahlawat, Rajit Kapur, Shishir Sharma, Sohum Shah.

Director: Ribhu Dasgupta.

Language: Hindi, Pashto/Urdu.

Genre: Thriller, Action, Drama.

Channel: Netflix.

Release Date: 27th September 2019.

Synopsis:

Living a burdened, guilty life, the former spy Kabir Anand aka Adonis, is snatched from his life of being a Shakespearean professor by his mentor at Indian Intelligence Wing (IIW), Sadiq Sheikh. Sadiq wants him back to get the four agents who have been apprehended in Balochistan before they could send an important bit of intel. As Kabir traipses the familiar land of Balochistan in search of redemption and revenge, he is in for a surprise that will turn his whole life around.

Yay!

  • Keeping up with the whole Shakespearean theme, Bard of Blood derives each of its episode titles from the works of the Bard The theme also tries to mesh with Shakespeare’s penchant for tragedy and revenge.
  • Jaideep Ahlawat and Kirti Kulhari provide a performance that gives an expressive depth to the otherwise dreary plot. Jaideep’s Tanvir Shehzad and Kirti’s Jannat are the only two characters who manage to put the espionage in the spy thriller that Bard of Blood was promised to be.
  • For a political spy thriller, it’s commendable enough to mention how Bard of Blood avoids from being a chest-thumping patriotic drama, considering all the recent content that’s been coming up. Showcasing Pakistan as a country harboring terrorist in their home, it surprisingly enough draws the line from being derogatory and almighty.
  • Chirantan Das, with his cinematography, transforms the landscapes of Ladakh and Rajasthan beautifully into Balochistan. The long shots work as both a contrast and a compliment to the beauty of the place.

Nay!

  • Bard of Blood doesn’t contribute anything new to the growing pile of content that is coming up under the name of entertainment. An espionage thriller drama that lacks all the necessary elements- maintaining the mystery, that ‘Woah!’ moment of a thriller, and adrenaline filled action sequences- Bard of Blood fails to deliver on all it was promised or supposed to be.
  • It’s an irony of Shakespearean proportions that a show that seems to be influenced from and is an ode to the greatest Bard, has a screenplay that is half-baked, dull and unsure of its course throughout its run-time.
  • The talented trio of Emraan Hashmi, Sobhita Dhulipala and Vineet Kumar Singh goes to a total waste due to halfhearted character building and a script that uses them more as puppets than artists. The actors try their hardest to give life to the insipid characters, but fail miserably.
  • The subplots about Taliban and Balochistan’s insurgency seem to flounder in their attempt to contribute to the main plot. The laughable portrayal of Taliban makes you wonder at the supremacy of the said terror organization. Also the Balochistan issue, as old and gruesome as the Kashmir one, is portrayed in a light that makes it seem secondary and trivial. Considering that both of these are issues that have the international attention, Bard of Blood reduces them both to crutches that try to uphold the carcass of Kabir Anand and his story.
  • Bard of Blood suffers from continuity jerks followed by spoon-feeding the audience. It totally ignores the ‘Show, don’t tell’ aspect of storytelling, lessening the impact and effect of the sequences.
  • If you persevere through the seven episodes, the curveball at the end might intrigue you enough to watch the next season when it arrives. It does manage to surprise you, but after the dullness of the entire series, it doesn’t have the desirable effect of a cliffhanger.

Bottom Line:

As Shakespeare said in King Lear, “Have more than you show, speak less than you know”; Bard of Blood could have definitely done better with this piece of Shakespeare in mind.

Trivia:

  • Bard of Blood is an adaptation of Bilal Siddiqi’s novel of the same name.
  • Emraan Hashmi and Vineet Kumar Singh mark their digital debut with Bard of Blood; Sobhita made hers in the popular Amazon Prime Original Made In Heaven.

Watch The Trailer Here:

Also Read: The Family Man: Web Series Review

Bypass

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Shraddha Raut

Dreamer- above all else; I like to read, sleep and overthink, in that order. You'll find me obsessing over Harry Potter, seas, moon, and window seats. If you are as fascinated by The God Of Small Things as me, we can be friends.

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