High Review: Star Rating: 3/5 stars (Three Stars)
Ever since the conversation around drugs took over our film/series universe, the gory happenings around it have made for some nerve-racking and many ‘not of any use’ storylines. Ever thought what it would look if someone sold an anecdote to the drugs. Will the world still be the same violent or more? MX Player’s recent offering starring Akshay Oberoi and Shweta Basu Prasad in the lead is a new idea, partly predictable but scores well for casting.
Cast: Akshay Oberoi, Ranvir Shorey, Mrinmayee Godbole, Shweta Basu Prasad, and ensemble.
High Review: What’s It About?
A big-time druggie Shiv Mathur (Akshay Oberoi) after a danger drug overdose finds himself in rehab. There, he comes across a compound being made by three scientists, which is an anecdote to drugs. Later we find out Shweta (Shweta Basu Prasad) Nakul (Nakul Bhalla) and Roy (Prakash Belawadi) are researching about a compound that might save lives. Once this compound termed ‘magic’ makes it to the market, all eyes get turned towards the three. Drug peddlers, to mafias, to pharmacy giants everyone wants them dead.
High Review: What Works:
The product for conflict in MX Player’s High is a compound ‘magic’ that cures the druggists rather than killing them slowly. Who on earth could have a problem with people trying to be Robinhoods and healing the world? What works in the Akshay Oberoi starrer in this simple idea.
Will a solution create the same chaos as the conflict does? It will be indeed. In this fictional universe, writers Nikhil Rao, Emil Thoms, and Nishant Goyal make this compound illegal and also give it the ability to cure druggists by not behaving like a medicine. So the consumers in High have to smuggle for the anecdote too. In this case, the mafias, politicians and pharmacy giants all are alarmed to save their business all at once.
What also works for high is the perfect casting. Akshay Oberoi as a drug addict Shiv is a revelation. Apart from the irritating wig in the first two episodes, the actor sells that he is a real addict with his acting. Shweta Basu Prasad in her limited screen time is impressive. Mrinmayee Godbole as the journalist is relatable, and the actor has a range that she portrays effortlessly.
High is also rich in terms of its production design. Shout out to the team for not just creating a character like Munna, but giving him a dramatised layer with the set design. Though predictable, the storyline keeps you hooked for some or the other reason, and that’s a good thing.
High Review: What Doesn’t Work:
High at some points is highly predictable (no that wasn’t a pun, trust me). While they give the three scientists a layer like that of Breaking Bad, the conclusion doesn’t really give them enough to be as powerful. Because the last scene shifts the whole focus back to Akshay.
Ranvir Shorey is an assassin sent by a Pharmacy giant (Padmavati Rao) who is paid to kill the three scientists. Now the predictability of his character is not the biggest concern. My concern is the lack of law around him. Here’s a man who is illegally probing things and killing people while on that. Why is no one bothered of that?
Also, attention to detail goes missing randomly. For example, when a girl says she was a drug head for 11 years and a single use of magic detoxed her, it’s funny. I can’t imagine of any such powerful substance that takes away a decade old addiction in a day.
Mrinmayee’s Ashima, who has one of the most exciting storylines, gets an underwhelming journey. For someone so involved in the conversation, she goes missing for hinge chunks throughout. Also, can we stop stereotyping the media just for the sake of it?
High Review: Last Words
As said, the idea is good and the execution partially too. You can give this one a try as it has an audience of its own. The drama or the excess of it might bother, but for some, it is entertaining. In case you do watch, let me know what you thought about it.