Faadu first impression: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s tale of human emotions is one-tone, flat

Faadu first impression: Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari’s tale of human emotions is one-tone, flat

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Actor Pavail Gulati, popular for his roles in Thappad, Goodbye, and Made in Heaven, does a superb job of carrying SonyLIV’s latest series Faadu all by himself, braving a weak plotline and flawed story. Here is a simple story of a boy from Mumbai chawl who wants to change his destiny and pull himself from a ‘basti’ where he’s lived all his life. During this journey to better his circumstances, he meets a girl who falls in love with him and says she’s as happy to live with him in “gandi naali” as she would be in a “mahal”. But this simple story is surrounded by needless complications.

Gulati plays Abhay, a boy obsessed with the idea of leaving behind this life of poverty, arranging quick ways of making money before finally meeting an unfortunate event in life. Saiyami Kher plays his ladylove Manjiri, who accepts Abhay and finds poetry in adversities. She comes from a decent Konkan family and has been raised by a postmaster father and a homely mother.

Abhay is confident (read overconfident) that he can change the reality he is born into. Without giving away the plot, it is safe to say that for the first five episodes, nothing happens beyond what was told to us in the trailers and other promotional videos of the show.

The early scenes where you meet Abhay and Manjiri as students of class 12th only put you off a bit since both Pavail and Saiyami don’t look like school students. Then the show’s director Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari doesn’t make any attempt to show the evolution of these school students into husband and wife, neither in their appearance nor in their attitude towards life.

However, the simplicity of the story in the first couple of episodes made me think of the 1982 film Saath Saath, where Farooq Sheikh and Deepti Naval played a couple trying to make both ends meet. Their struggle felt real when they maintained a weekly budget, took up jobs to meet the rising costs of food and living and shared both the magic and monotony of it all with us. But, in Faadu, as the episodes progress at a glacial pace, it is difficult to relate to Abhay and Manjiri. There are no elements in their lives which make you look at them as the couple next door.

Eventually, the show deviates from its theme, and feels more like a rags-to-riches story of Abhay rather than a love story.

If not Abhay and Manjiri, the relationship of Abhay with his drunkard brother Roxy (Abhilash Thapiyal), and Manjiri’s bond with her father warms your heart. Manjiri’s friend-like bond with her father reminded me of how Iyer Tiwari had painted a similar father-daughter equation in her film Bareilly ki Barfi, between Kriti Sanon and Pankaj Tripathi.

Pavail Gulati once again proved what an effective actor he is. He wins sympathy when he gives an account of his struggle of living in a chawl to his professor in college. Saiyami Kher too fits her part. Every single actor in this ensemble cast seems persuasive in their respective roles. But their compelling performance is let down by a flawed script.

A special mention to the background score and the songs. I only wish the narrative was as good.

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