‘Bard of Blood’ Brings Together Intrigue With an Excellent Cast
‘Bard of Blood’ drops on Netflix Friday 27 September.
Looks like there is no getting away from espionage spy thrillers. The much talked about Red Chillies production Bard of Blood will be streaming on Netflix soon. Written by Bilal Siddiqui, who authored the book of the same name on which the series is based, and Mayank Tiwari, the series has been directed by Ribhu Dasgupta. The 7 episodes are strung together with intrigue, spycraft and in this case some melodrama which takes us to Balochistan and shows in great detail the Indian interest in the region.
This is going to be a spoiler free review so’ll talk about just the skeletal structure of the plot. Four Indian operatives have been taken hostage by the Taliban and so an Indian spy must be sent in for the rescue mission.
The 7 episodes are strung together with intrigue, spycraft and in this case some melodrama which takes us to Balochistan and shows in great detail the Indian interest in the region.
But who will it be ? This time it’s Adonis - a code name for Kabir Anand aka Emraan Hashmi. But why name him Adonis one wonders? The ‘Bard of Avon’ has been invoked quite a few times here. Be it with Adonis, a narrative poem by William Shakespeare and even the naming of the episodes. In fact Kabir Anand when not freeing hostages is shown teaching Shakespeare to kids.
Apart from a passing mention about how much his mother loved reading Shakespeare we hardly get to know anything about Kabir’s family or background. In that sense it differs greatly from The Family Man, the Amazon Prime series which has a similar plot revolving around espionage and terrorists but focusses as much on their families as the field work by the agents .
Bard of Blood plunges headfirst into action tracing the trajectory of the agents on a mission. A stray incident with one of the agents bidding an emotional farewell to her mother or another’s worry about the failing health of his father is all that one gets .
The strength of Bard of Blood lies in its casting. Emraan Hashmi as Kabir Anand with his measured bravado brings in a lot of gravitas to the role. Here is a man subsumed by guilt and anger at being unable to rescue a close friend and the turmoil is evocatively portrayed by Hashmi. Vineet Kumar as an undercover Indian agent desperate to someday go back to his motherland and Kirti Kulhari as a Baloch freedom fighter give exuberant performances. A rock solid ensemble cast with Jaideep Ahlawat, Sohum Shah, Rajit Kapur, Shishir Sharma and Danish Hussain do full justice to their roles .
The strength of Bard of Blood lies in its casting. Emraan Hashmi as Kabir Anand with his measured bravado brings in a lot of gravitas to the role.
Sobhita Dhulipala masterfully plays Agent Isha Khanna and it’s interesting how her presence is processed in this hyper masculine world of statecraft. Questions are raised about a woman being sent on a sensitive mission such as this. Dhulipala’s Isha is determined about fulfilling the task assigned to her but it’s her quiet display of strength in this alpha male world view that helps her hold out her own.
Where the series slumps is in its plot machinations that appear obvious and cliched. In one scene Kabir running after a shooter finds himself on parallel sides of a railway track and as the train whizzes past them we know the guy he was chasing would vanish. One could almost bet about the outcome. In another instance Kabir throws his gun away only to punch the man with his bare hands because revenge is sweeter when one gets one’s hands dirty, literally it would seem going by some very filmy logic!
The narrative however picks up in the last 3 episodes and the denouement suggests another season is definitely in the offing. Bard of Blood is uneven in its pace but for the compelling performances and the chilling efficiency of the final episodes it does deserve to be seen.
3 Quints out of 5!
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