JL50 Review: Abhay Deol & Pankaj Kapur's Show Is A Good Step In The Sci-Fi Genre Pulled Down By Weak Execution
JL50 Review: Abhay Deol & Pankaj Kapur’s Show Is A Good Step In The Sci-Fi Genre Pulled Down By Weak Execution

JL50 Review Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three and half stars)

Foremost, let’s take a moment and appreciate the fact that producers are ready to put a fair amount of money, and up production scales for a project that certainly doesn’t have ‘the’ names. JL50, a sci-fi thriller is a perfect recipe to bring you to the edge of your seats, but the chef (director) seems to have cooked it on a high flame. Starring Abhay Deol and the pitch-perfect Pankaj Kapur in the lead, JL50 is the latest Sony LIV’s offering.

Cast: Abhay Deol, Pankaj Kapur, Rajesh Sharma, Piyush Mishra and Ritika Anand.

Available on: Sony LIV

JL50 Review: Abhay Deol & Pankaj Kapur's Show Is A Good Step In The Sci-Fi Genre Pulled Down By Weak Execution
JL50 Review: Abhay Deol & Pankaj Kapur’s Show Is A Good Step In The Sci-Fi Genre Pulled Down By Weak Execution

JL50 Review: What’s It About?

A flight crashes somewhere around Kolkata and is a suspicious affair. As the story unfolds, it turns out that the plane is JL50 that went missing 35 years ago. CBI team head by Shantanu (Abhay Deol) gets on investigating the whereabouts of the flight that suddenly appeared out of nowhere after decades. The probe leads to a truth that will leave you shocked and well scratching your head if not your genre.

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JL50 Review: What Works:

Shout out to Shailender Vyas who has created, written and directed JL50, and is also a co-producer. Though I have complaints, it is difficult to set a fantasy sci-fi drama in the Indian pallet, and Vyas has partially ‘cracked the code’.

Coming to the series, addressing the elephant right away reports online claim that JL50 is adapted from a real-life conspiracy theory behind TWA Flight 513. It disappeared in 1954, and the aeroplane was found 35 years later with around 90 skeletons in it. I have not read much about the real-life case, so the review is entirely on the content of the show.

JL50 opens up to a scene of a gigantic aeroplane overshadowing a group of boys playing football (a good shot to begin with). The BGM suggests that it crashed. News spreads, the investigation begins, and till now the show is very much about a crashed flight and the casualties. This is the first layer, JL50 has many such. Just like the lead, Abhay Deol, we travel from crime, mystery, politics, terrorism to science.

Talking about the ‘science’ part of it. The show is a significant step in terms of introducing sci-fi fantasy to the Indian audience. Taking time travel as its subject, Pankaj Kapur’s professor Das explains Quantum physics in the simplest way. That actually is one of the best scenes of the show.

On that note, Pankaj Kapur (who I am so happy to see back on screen) is a wholesome treat. The actor has his calibre in control and how. Abhay Deol plays the confused man as he is expected to. What works is his humaneness. When a terrorist is being beaten up in Interrogation, Deol feels sad, and that is a shift from the standard brutal CBI officers. Piyush Mishra in a limited screen time does his USP magic.

The show travels in time, and the climax seems intelligent. Why clever? Because it’s open-ended for your interpretation of the story. Did it really happen? Was anything out of this true? Is Deol even a CBI officer? Watch it!

JL50 Review: Abhay Deol & Pankaj Kapur's Show Is A Good Step In The Sci-Fi Genre Pulled Down By Weak Execution
JL50 Review: Abhay Deol & Pankaj Kapur’s Show Is A Good Step In The Sci-Fi Genre Pulled Down By Weak Execution

JL50 Review: What Doesn’t Work?

The show is layered, and that’s a plus. But the vehicle called transition is missing. You jump from one angle to another so quick and random, that the happenings don’t hit you as much as they should. While we get into the ‘time travel’ part, I was confused if it was happening for real, or symbolic.

When you cast actors like Rajesh Sharma, whose craft is commendable, let’s just not use him as comic relief. For a man who plays a CBI officer, I can only remember Sharma cracking jokes about his wife.

There was a lot of content and good actors who would have pulled off a much detailed show. Crunching something as complex as JL50 in 4 episodes doesn’t seem to be a wise decision. I know the crisp factor was in play. The pace of the show also suffers due to this. Also, why is Abhay Deol spared from not having an accent and all others have it?

Music department, adding thunder sound in the background even when there is no rain and the characters are indoors wasn’t a good idea.

JL50 Review: Last Words:

JL50 is a good step in the genre. A bit more detailing and insight in the world could have made for a way better show. But what we get is also appreciable. Watch it for a fantastic Pankaj Kapur and a good story. There is an Interstellar styled Easter egg too (just a hint, not literally). Come back here and tell me in the comments if you agree. Tell me even if you don’t, I am all ears!

JL 50 releases on 04th September, 2020.

Share with us your experience of watching JL 50.

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JL50 Review Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three and half stars)

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