Kaun Banegi Shikharwati Review: Star Rating:2.0 out of 5.0 stars
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Raghubir Yadav, Lara Dutta, Soha Ali Khan, Kritika Kamra, Anya Singh, Cyrus Sahukar, Varun Thakur and ensemble.
Creator: Ananya Banerjee.
Director: Gauravv K Chawla and Ananya Banerjee.
Streaming On: Zee5.
Runtime: Around 40 minutes each episode.
Kaun Banegi Shikharwati Review: What’s It About:
A King living in the facade of his lost glory one certain day decides to unite his dysfunctional family including 4 daughters. There is of course his selfish moto behind it. While the ladies come under one roof and try to become the new King or the successor, an income tax investigation is running in the background to haunt them by the end. How they save Shikharwati palace is the story.
Kaun Banegi Shikharwati Review: What Works:
Family drama in Indian cinema has forever been a very tricky genre to deal with. While Hrishikesh Mukherjee introduced Hindi cinema to the idea of modern families, Sooraj Barjatya became the epitome of a man who reflected the righteousness and high esteemed family values. In the recent times Shakun Batra (Kapoor & Sons), Zoya Akhtar (Dil Dhadakne Do) and Shoojit Sircar (Piku, Vicky Donor) blew our minds with their understanding of dysfunctional families. And Cinema as a whole evolved to showcase the reality and also find humour in the chaos that a family goes through.
Kaun Banegi Shikharwati might be confused whether it wants to be a dramedy or emotional drama, but at least gets the conflict right. 4 loving sisters are separated due to the newly induced enmity between them. Half a decade later when they come together, they are up to mend the broken and form the bonds again. And when the father is played by the effortless Naseeruddin Shah who is also greedy in his own way, you know there will be something you will love about the whole parade.
Ananya Banerjee who was last involved with Saif Ali Khan’s Baazaar and P.O.W Bandhi Yuddh Ke as an AD, is here writing the screenplay, dialogue and also co-directing the show. She chooses to take the dramedy route to tell the story about this family. Of course, there is no other option to translate this story that demands more than an ample amount of suspension of disbelief from the audience. Some jokes do land and are funny.
The trailer tells you enough about the story and what it holds and anything more will spoil it for you (in case you decided to watch). What the show manages to be is a light-hearted comical drama which one can relax and watch without really having to use their brains much. But only if you are that audience. There is also some great music in the beginning but it loses track as the journey progresses.
Also, there are kind of Squid Game costumes that the four sisters wear at one point. It’s funny, because that makes Naseeruddin Shah the Villain.
Kaun Banegi Shikharwati Review: Star Performance:
Naseeruddin Shah is one actor who can make even the most loosely written character look 3-dimensional. Playing a delusional King this time, he manages to be the comical note throughout. He runs the whole charade and wants his daughters back, but is also greedy. While the actor is prolific, the character becomes repetitive that is where things go wrong.
Lara Dutta is bouncing back to the game and how. Playing the eldest here she manages to be ‘look I am serious but you have to laugh at it’ character with ease. Won’t deny, there are some parts that need more efforts, but in the chaos, they don’t bother much.
Soha Ali Khan as the second sister gets a tailor-made role for her and the actor does manage to impress. Comedy doesn’t come to her naturally and that can be clearly seen in some parts, but her emotions do manage to overpower that.
Anya Singh plays a character that is confusing. Someone who is socially awkward, allergic to almost everything and has anxiety has enough drama around. Her character is so under played that you keep forgetting the most dramatic character of the entire screenplay.
Varun Thakur is evolving as an actor. He plays a pivotal part and with conviction. Raghubir Yadav is Raghubir Yadav and he can’t go wrong (unless the script does).
Kaun Banegi Shikharwati Review: What Doesn’t Work:
Kaun Banegi Shikharwati is kind of confused about its tone. While it is out and out Dramedy it also ventures into emotional conflicts. I understand it is needed, but killing the emotions the very moment I as an audience was connecting to them isn’t a great idea. For example, Soha Ali Khan’s Gayatri in one scene is seeking validation from her Guru and is in tears as to know where she went wrong. When you decide to break this scene with a situational joke, it kills the entire purpose in a second.
The tone also shakes a bit with the format. Just like Decoupled (which I didn’t like at all), the Zee5 show also tries to be Meta twice. Lara Dutta’s Devyani once tells Kritika Kamra’s Kamini to make an s*x tape to become famous and get rid of the wannabe tag, not funny anymore. The show also copies the Master Chef format and that doesn’t help the narrative at all.
There is an in-house Student Of The Year competition functioning her and Naseeruddin Shah is Karan Johar here. But as it progresses, it ends up being SOTY 2, just games and audience stuck in loop of repetitions only wanting to exit it.
The writing also tried to venture into the surroundings of these characters. There is a man on the ‘nukkad’ who criticises the King, a village boy hell bent to save the King’s legacy, but they never really get the time to shine.
The girls multiple times reveal they have been separated since the past 6 years. But strangely ball four kids who were born in this period to Lara Dutta and Soha Ali Khan’s characters are elder then 5. What situation is this exactly?
Kaun Banegi Shikharwati’ Review: Last Words:
The show with more evolved humour deserved depth too. The bar for dramedies about the families has been raised 4 decades ago by some prolific filmmakers, Kaun Banegi Shikharwati will struggle to live up to them.
Fan of thrillers? Read our Special Ops 1.5 Review here.