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Sunflower review: Goofy comedy disguised as murder mystery is neither funny nor gripping

Release Date: 11 Jun 2021

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Suyog Zore

The eight-episode web-series is banal, lacks depth and has supporting characters that serve no purpose apart from dragging the plot unnecessarily.

The much-awaited web-series Sunflower marks Vikas Bahl's entry into the OTT space. This new offering from Zee5 has been highly anticipated, courtesy of its cast and creator. The promotional material leads one to believe that this eight-episode web series is a nail-biting murder mystery with a slight dose of humour. But just 15 minutes into the first episode, the bubble bursts, and you realize that It's a goofy comedy disguised as a thriller.

The killer and their motive are revealed in the first episode itself and the rest of the show is dedicated to the amusing Sonu Singh (Sunil Grover) and how his weird antics and anti-social behaviour slowly make him suspect number one. The investigation is led by inspector Digendra (Ranveer Shorey) and his philandering subordinate Tambe (Girish Kulkarni). The victim Mr Kapoor is, as is always the case in murder mysteries, not a well-liked person, which makes all of his neighbours the suspects and further complicates the investigation.

The screenplay by Bahl is all over the place. After the initial burst, it refuses to gain momentum and you find yourself itching to skip to the next episode. The narrative picks up pace only in the last couple of episodes, but by then you have already lost interest in the series. Bahl introduces irrelevant subplots and characters that only drag the proceedings unnecessarily. Sonu's unrequited crush on his office colleague, the election to the post of society secretary, Ashish Vidyarthi's constant need to school everyone about Indian culture — all these subplots are irrelevant to the main plot. Honestly, this wouldn't have been a big issue, if these subplots were interesting but lack novelty. The screenplay oscillates in every direction that could potentially result in success but in vain. 

The show has some quirky characters such as Kulkarni's Tambe, Ashish Vidyarthi's overly sanskari uncle, and Mukul Chadda's professor character but their place in the narrative falls short of engaging the audience. It's quite clear that Vidyarthi's character was deliberately written to mock those who engage in moral policing but the series fails to make his character a flesh-and-blood one by depicting other facets. Besides being someone who issues puritanical diktats, who is he? What does he do?  The show never provides convincing answers to these questions. In fact, all the supporting characters come across as mere caricatures whose identity is reduced to their specific foibles.

Being the show's lead, Grover gets the maximum screentime and he plays his part well. He is convincing as a quirky loner, who tries his best to get the attention of people but always ends up being ignored by everyone. The supporting cast is completely wasted as the show fails to tap into its full acting potential. 

Sunflower has an intriguing premise and a talented cast that deserved a better show.

The show is being streamed on Zee5.


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