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Shantit Kranti review: A compelling and refreshing take on changing dynamics of friendship

Release Date: 13 Aug 2021


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Suyog Zore

Though it comes across as derivative at times, the series creates its own identity thanks to its refreshing treatment of a familiar premise. 

Farhan Akhtar's Dil Chahta Hai (2001) turned twenty this week. The coming-of-age story of three college friends out to explore the world redefined the meaning of the word bromance in Indian cinema forever. Since then, many films and web-series have tried to replicate the formula; some succeeded and some failed miserably.

20 years of Dil Chahta Hai: The landmark film for every urban Indian millennial

Fortunately, Bhadipa and The Viral Fever's joint production Shantit Kranti falls in the first category. The six-episode series offers a refreshing take on the changing dynamics of friendship. It ticks all the boxes of the cliched bromance genre but at the same time introduces some fresh ideas. The template and, to some extent, even the characters also seem to be inspired by Dil Chahta Hai.

In place of Akshaye Khanna's Siddharth, who was the most mature and understanding among the three, we have Lalit Prabhakar's Prasanna, a swimming coach who aspires to represent India in the Olympics. But his wife's unplanned pregnancy threatens to put paid to his plans. He is torn between whether to stay with his wife as a dutiful husband and father or go to Thailand to pursue his dream. 

Abhay Mahajan's Shreyas brings to mind Saif Ali Khan's Sameer. He is obsessed with his ex-fiance Rupali (Sakhi Gokhale in a guest appearance) and can't control himself from stalking her on social media. Dinar (Alok Rajwade) is undoubtedly modelled after Aamir Khan's Akash. He is the most chilled guy of the trio. An alcoholic and womanizer, he is nonetheless a loyal friend. 

These three childhood friends, who are each dealing with their own issues, decide to go on a road trip, but unbeknownst to Dinar and Prasanna, Shreyas takes them to the Shantivan ashram where they are expected to temporarily renounce the outside world and connect with their inner self.

This retreat is coordinated by Neha Parekh (Shikha Talsania) and attended by a host of colourful characters such as an aspiring politician and a goofy helper.

The writing and characterization are very impressive.  All three friends are going through emotional turmoil but their ego never lets them completely open up to each other. The series gives powerful messages about alcoholism and moving on in life without ever sounding preachy. 

There is no hero here. The series gives all three friends and their problems equal importance. Prabhakar's Siddharth is the most level-headed and sensible of the three and he delivers a stellar performance as a man wrestling with his emotions. Rajwade's Dinar initially comes across as the comic relief but as the series progresses, it peels off more layers of his character and we slowly learn about his past trauma. Mahajan also gives a solid performance. All three lead actors have excellent chemistry and never once do you doubt their lifelong friendship. Whenever there is a dull moment, one of them is there to liven the proceedings. 

Although it has echoes of two of the most influential bromance movies, Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), Shantit Kranti successfully carves its own identity. The series even embraces its influences by unabashedly making multiple references to the former film. The leads even argue about who among them is Aamir Khan.  

Though it comes across as derivative at times, the series creates its own identity thanks to its refreshing treatment of a familiar premise.

Shantit Kranti is being streamed on SonyLiv.

 

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