Shrikant Bashir Review: Corrupt politicians (seen since the time of Ardh Satya), bank scams (very recently seen in Scam 1992), r*pe and murder (the core plot point of Simmba), a virus been unleashed from the foreign soil (if you caught Azaan) – all of this and more come together in the 26 episode marathon web series that is by far the longest OTT offering to have come out of India. Lasting close to 14 hours, and in the process beating the 10 hour record set by Scam 1992 (also on Sony LIV), this action thriller with good dose of humor is indeed a cool popcorn entertainer.
One thing that you notice in Shrikant Bashir is the lavish outdoor shoot that takes place right through the series. Otherwise, for a story that is set around SOT: Surgical Operation Team (that reminds of Kay Kay Menon’s Special Ops that came earlier this year), it could easily have turned into a claustrophobic outing. After all, there are two officers with contrasting principles, Shrikant [Gashmeer Mahajani, who believes in the only rule, which is no rule) and Bashir [Yudhishthir Singh, who goes by the book] along with an IT Head/hacker [Pooja Gaur], a field operative [Ashmita Jaggi] and a forensic expert [Priya Chauhan] relegated to a four room office space. Had the series stayed there throughout, it would have been no fun.
Hence, it does keep the momentum going when there are chases on the highway, gun fights on the Mumbai streets, packages/bodies being exchanged atop big boats in the midst of an ocean and action unfolding at the airports. All of this and more ensures that there is no dull moment in this narrative that has been put together by director Santosh Shetty.
That said, most of the episodes that unfold have a predictive feel to them. Though writer Shiraz Ahmed does try to bring in several twists in the tale, a la the kind that he is famous for courtesy Race franchise, somehow the seriousness gets a bit diluted with the humor element coming in intermittently. This could have been an out and out dramatic thriller on the lines of Special Ops or The Family Man but then the makers were sure that they wanted this one to reach out to all segments of audiences with varied taste. Hence, there are some wisecracks in.
This is one of the major reasons why Gashmeer Mahajani stands out from the rest of the crowd since he gets to mouth those crowd pleasing lines, and also indulge in the kind of ‘herogiri’ that makes him the hero of the show. An actor who has played in the leading role in several Marathi films and has also made a good (but unnoticed) debut as a ‘dabangg’ cop in a Hindi film Dongri Ka Raja, Gashmeer has a good likeable quotient to him that makes one look forward to seeing him more on screen. He gets the swag factor right.
On the other hand Yudhishthir’s character is written as ultra honest, so much so that in front of Gashmeer (who borders frequently on the grey side), it comes across as a bore. As an actor, he does well and stands up on his own. However as a character he is a distance second and one would have expected a bit better considering he also plays the title role.
Amongst the leading ladies, it is Priya who has a heroine kind of a quality to her. She acts, talks and looks like Nimrat Kaur and has a certain grace element that works for her. Pooja is required to play a second fiddle and that’s the way her character has been portrayed right through. On the other hand Ashmita makes her presence felt as long as she is on screen.
Meanwhile, there is Mantra as an international villain who deals only in millions for his crimes. That said, for someone who is supposed to be a ‘ghost’ in the crime world, it is surprising to see him wielding a gun on the highways of Mumbai and playing an ‘individual contributor’ role when he already has a gang working for him. From Casino to High and now Shrikant Bashir, the man has been keeping busy as a villain with a unique touch to him.
Overall though, even if Shrikant Bashir may not go down as totally unique, what works in its favor is the fact that it is fast paced and ensures that audiences are hooked on to the proceedings. Notwithstanding the stock background score pieces that keep repeating themselves time and again, one can give this one as a comfortable watch with the entire family.
Rating: 3 Stars