Mumbai, 05 Oct 2020 14:16 IST
Barring his accent, Tony Luke delivers a solid performance in this 10-episode series about jealousy, suspicion and vengeance.
You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Harvey Dent's iconic line from Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight (2008) aptly summarizes Zee5's new offering. Expiry Date explores how jealousy and the thirst for vengeance can push even an honest and loving person to commit unspeakable crimes.
Vishwa (Tony Luke), a loving husband, gets the shock of his life when he finds his wife Disha (Sneha Ullal) in the embrace of a strange man in his own house. Fuelled by anger, he designs an intricate plan to kill his wife and frame her lover.
But things soon go awry when he accidentally murders Disha in their own home. To complicate things, his sister-in-law arrives the same day. The rest of the plot revolves around a cat-and-mouse game between Vishwa and the police where one is left wondering whether the law will ever catch up with him.
The series has many things going for it, starting with the casting of Luke. He gives the vibe of someone capable of being gentle and loving but also cold and menacing. Luke uses this to his advantage and delivers an emotionally compelling performance as a good person doing bad things, which puts the viewers in a conundrum.
Madhu Shalini, who plays Vishwa's accomplice Sunita, has done justice to her role. For the most part, her character plays second fiddle to Vishwa. Though she comes across initially as a damsel in distress, her character's depth increases as the show progresses. Other than these two, the rest of the cast, including Ullal, does not have much to do.
Shankar K Marthand , who donned the hats of scriptwriter and director for this web-series, excels in both roles. The script is filled with twists and turns that blindside the audience. Marthand manages to keep the thrill quotient high by constantly throwing Vishwa into sticky situations from where he has to somehow extricate himself. It is a mark of exceptional scriptwriting that when you put yourself in the character's shoes, you realize you would have made the very same choices. Marthand's direction, though not flashy, brings his script to life well enough.
The one thing that really plays spoilsport, at least initially, is the lead actor's heavy South Indian accent. It takes two to three episodes to get accustomed to this. In fact, almost all the actors, including some junior artistes, speak Hindi with a South Indian touch, which weirdly acclimatizes us to Luke's inability to speak the language fluently.
Another minor issue is that the series takes place in Mumbai and Lonavala, but the production team hasn't done much to make it seem so. From the outdoor locations to its obviously fake sets, the web-series makes it glaringly obvious that it was shot in a southern state.
Anoop Rubens's music is good but has an uncanny resemblance to the K.G.F Chapter 1 (2018) theme. The length of episodes varies from 25 to 45 minutes and editor Arun Thachoth has done a fantastic job at keeping things fast-paced.
Expiry Date asks thought-provoking questions about how far one can go to exact revenge and whether it is worth it. Despite some minor flaws, Marthand has delivered an intriguing thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout its 10-episode run.
Expiry Date is now available on Zee5.
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