Cast: Ajay Devgn, Raashii Khanna, Ashwini Kalsekar, Atul Kulkarni, Esha Deol, and ensemble.
Creator: Rajesh Mapushkar
Director: Rajesh Mapushkar
Streaming On: Disney+ Hotstar
Language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Runtime: Around 50 Minutes Each Episode.
Rudra Web Series Review: What’s It About:
Rudra, a cop who knows it all (even before it happens sometimes) is living under the darkness of his past doings. The city is engulfed in the shadows of crime yet again and guess what, the world wants Rudra back! He is back and is upto saving days as the killers emerge every day out of thin air.
Rudra Web Series Review: What Works:
If the structure of Luther was this simple and the execution was similarly daily soap like, I am marking myself safe from watching it. Yes, that is what is working for me. If you still haven’t got it, Ajay Devgn marks his digital debut with the official adaptation of the acclaimed British show Luther.
Adapted for the Indian audience by Jay Sheela Bhansal and Upen Chauhan, Rudra at least doesn’t look like shows entirely copy-pasted and forced in a new landscape. The writing takes efforts to blend the story in an Indian feel as much as possible. But actually fails a bit in replicating Mumbai though. About that later.
The makers do take an effort in casting the actors. More than the lead actor, who already has a cop image and gets a more brutal extension to it, the supporting cast is gold. The villains moreover. The criminals get better with each passing episode. There is one who paints with the blood of his victims claiming it to be his. He is borderline cannibalistic. Another kills young women to compensate his void. So the intriguing part as for any show in Rudra is the bad men and there are many here.
Rudra Web Series Review: Star Performance:
Ajay Devgn gets to play an extension to his cop self. This is more Gangaajal cop with a swag than Singham. He is sharp enough to see things even before they happen. It might sound crazy and even look crazier on screen, but Devgn and his larger than life persona sells it, and I can already see many buying it. But someone please give our man a ton of lip balm, his chapped lips in the uncomfortably zoomed frames deserve it.
Ashwini Kalsekar is a surprise package. Her character has a command over Rudra and she plays it with honesty. This should be her testimony for filmmakers to give her substantial characters that make the audience realise she isn’t just an actor you hire to create a comic relief out of.
Atul Kulkarni’s character though goes under a 180 degree transformation, isn’t really sketched well. His transition is so random that it looks straight out of Milap Zaveri’s ‘rhyming digs’ universe and not taken from a British show.
KC Shankar gets the award of being the best bad man on the show. He plays a painter who paints with his blood and gets a kick by drinking other women’s blood. The actor plays his character with no limits. In a scene where he is talking to one of his victims, you see him on the verge of losing the last drop of sanity and I wish he at least had two episodes dedicated to him.
Rudra Web Series Review: What Doesn’t Work:
Rudra follows a ‘one case every day’ format. It becomes a mood killer at points where you do want some characters to be carried forward and explored more. The pressure to tell a story and also conclude it in the given 50 minutes is high on the writers and the director and after a point it gets too visible.
Rudra is the mighty cop who knows it all. But his Sherlock Holmesing out of every given situation feels a bit too much after one point. The template gets so overdone that you have already predicted that Rudra will get it wrong the first time, and solve it in the second chance. Also, every time he is angry, he breaks his cabin and just messes everything around him, are his bosses deducting the damage from his salary?
The camera department must be given a strict order to stop uncomfortably zooming in Ajay Devgn’s face everytime he is thinking. We get it, zooming only distracts our attention to his skin and wants us to advice him a bedtime routine. Also, what is the obsession of placing pieces of evidence, and things around characters in formations? Even Game Of Thrones makers stopped doing that after a point.
Lastly, which Mumbai are these guys in exactly? Why isn’t the metro work delaying their arrival at places that are the most blocked at any given point of the day? Where is traffic? Where are the MMRDA boards? Who is allowing Rudra on the highest of the high rises, that too under construction?
Rudra Web Series Review: Last Words:
Rudra could have been many good things, but only ends up being another CIDish show that doesn’t leave you with much. Because it spoon feeds you almost everything it has on the platter. If you are a Devgn fan, go in, there’s a lot of him, but please gift him a lot of lip balm too!
Fan of destructive love stories? Read our Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein Review here.