Starring: Saqib Saleem, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Iqbal Khan, Waluscha, Rajesh Tailang and Ankur Bhatia
Directed by: Apoorva Lakhia
Written by: Chintan Gandhi and Suresh Nair
What is it about:
CRACKDOWN is the story about Directorate of Operations (DO), a covert wing of India’s RAW. The show follows a RAW agent Riyaz Pathan (Saqib Saleem) who recruits Divya (Shriya Pilgaonkar), a middle class girl to the agency because she is a lookalike of a terrorist, Mariyam, who got killed in an operation by RAW. He shows her the ropes and trains her to help them kill a dreaded terrorist. However, the killing of the terrorist sparks a much larger conspiracy that has the potential to infringe the national security of India. While the RAW deals with the external threat, there is also another internal threat looming, because of the internal politics going on at RAW. How the two sides fight it out and who comes up on top becomes the rest of the series.
What we liked:
The series comprises some top notch acting performances, with Saqib being at the center of it. He steals the show in this author backed role. The support he receives here is equally great and no one really puts a foot wrong. The writing and direction by Apoorva has been simply brilliant as well. The intrigue, the build up, the thrill and everything about an espionage thriller come together in a perfect blend to make this a wonderfully crafted show. Usually there are a lot of films that lack in one or the other department but the maker here treads carefully in all the departments and this works in his favour. The 8 episode series is short, crisp and just about right for the genre and that is just the cherry on the cake. The story is consistent throughout and is packed with suspense and surprising revelations and plot twists (one too many, we feel), which are unpredictable too. The basic plot is satisfactory and the makers leave it at an open ending, hinting at the possibility of another one sooner or later.
What we didn’t like:
There isn’t much to not like about this show but there is one thing and it depends on the personal taste of the audiences and it is that the show has one too many plot twists. The story certainly could have done with less but it doesn’t really ruin the overall watching experience.