What happens when a man finds out that his wife is having an affair with another man, only to come face to face with the wife of that very man?
What happens when the wife, as well as her boyfriend, go missing on the same day?
What happens if there is a killing happening in the midst of it all?
What happens if this killing gets a twist in the tale?
What starts as a regular extramarital drama takes the shape of a thriller with Abbas-Mustan kind of twists and turns that result in a fitting finale. For that, one has to credit director Marthand K. Shankar for keeping audience interest alive for those 5 hours across 10 episodes in this latest web series that is out on ZEE5. Yes, there is a chilling torture sequence right at the beginning that makes one wonder if there would be a lot of gore and violence as Abhay series in Expiry Date as well. However, that’s not really the case as high drama and thrills rule.
Tony Luke, seen in Badla as Taapsee Pannu’s boyfriend, is a successful businessman with a supremely attractive wife Sneha Ullal. Everything seems to be nice and rosy but there are disappointments and heartbreaks galore when he realizes that Sneha is having an affair with another man, Ali Reza. A womanizer, he is unrepentant about his various affairs and escapades in front of his rather homely and simple wife, Madhu Shalini. However, all hell breaks loose when Tony decides to take matters in his own hand, hence putting together an unbelievable plan.
To be honest, though, the first two or three episodes of Expiry Date are really shaky. That’s also because Expiry Date has been set as a Hindi-Telugu bilingual due to which there are some continuity jerks, especially due to the challenges faced at the outdoors. As a result vehicle number plates keep fluctuating between Maharashtra and Telangana, autos start looking different, cop uniforms also aren’t entirely consistent and the overall semantics keep getting mixed up.
What takes the most time for one to adjust is the dubbing for few artists, especially with the lead actor Tony Luke. There is a thick accent that comes in and then there are certain characters who seem to be quite comfortable with the language [Sneha Ullal and Madhu Shalini] whereas at times the supporting actors aren’t entirely into the required zone.
However, it’s the story that engages, and especially with the entry of Madhu Shalini into the narrative. The back-story narrated by her brings Expiry Date well on track and the moment she and Tony join hands, there is added drama into the proceedings. Notwithstanding a couple of other characters who don’t quite add much to the tale (especially Tony’s office colleagues, including his secretary), you are left guessing on what would happen next.
This is where the twists and turns in the tale start happening on a relentless pace. With cops on the trail and the killers ahead in the race at every nook and corner, you like what is presented. Introduction of another character, a contract killer, lends further momentum to Expiry Date, hence bringing in added layers. The best is actually reserved for the finale which lasts right through the ninth and the tenth episode. The running duration of this segment is around 70 minutes and it’s the best part of the tale. The finale is quite apt and is fitting to the T.
Amongst actors, it is in fact the women who lead the show. Madhu Shalini, who was introduced to Bollywood by Ram Gopal Varma [Department, Bhoot Returns], is quite assured and comes up with the best expressions amongst all. Sneha Ullal has clearly not aged in the last 15 years and she plays her temptress part quite well. Tony Luke has a good personality but his expressions are a tad inconsistent. Also, his performance could have been enhanced by better dubbing. Ali Reza is a miscast though; a better choice would have helped.
Nonetheless, as a web series that primarily caters to the masses who like their entertainment to be fast-paced with ample masala in there, Expiry Date makes for a racy watch.
Rating: 3 Stars