Gangstars review: Amazon Prime's maiden Telugu web series can be best described as a wasted opportunity
Gangstars is one of those attempts you do not want to write off but at the same time, realise it is not worth giving so much importance.
Amazon Prime Video India’s maiden Telugu web series Gangstars brings together some of the well-known talent from Tollywood. Written by filmmaker BV Nandini Reddy, the series is jointly produced by Silly Monks Entertainment and Early Monsoon Tales, a web division of Vyjayanthi Movies, the banner behind the recently released Savitri biopic, Mahanati. It features an ensemble cast of Jagapathi Babu, Navdeep, Shivaji, Shweta Basu Prasad and Posani Krishna Murali among others. Despite having so much of talent at its disposal, the show fails to rise above a very predictable story of action and comedy. It is a comedy of errors, which tries to redeem itself with a few twists towards the end but never really works on the whole.
The story opens with the death of an aspiring writer-director Ajay. As he falls to the ground, he narrates his story and how four people are responsible to his death. The suspense with which the show opens is not quite maintained throughout and that is a big downer for someone who decides to binge-watch it. What begins as a thriller slowly loses steam to become a comedy of errors and eventually throws in a few twists to end the show on a high.
The problem with Gangstars is its treatment of story. Apparently, Nandini had originally pitched this idea to be made into a film. Unfortunately, when that ideal fell through, she decided to turn it into a web series when an opportunity came along. You cannot shake off the feeling of watching a regular Telugu film which is usually made keeping in mind different sections of the audience. It never felt like any effort was taken to make the story more suitable for web audiences. Except for spurts of thrills here and there, the show never really makes us invest in the suspense it builds quite early on.
All the actors rise to the occasion in their respective parts. Jagapathi Babu as the gangster does not come across as someone anyone would fear. He is reduced to a comic villain who loses his cool on multiple occasions. After he shoots a character in the opening scene, we see him next in a police station staring at his old picture from Ram Gopal Varma’s Gaayam on the wanted list. He also played a gangster/rowdy in Gaayam but unfortunately, his role in Gangstars is no match to what he played in the former. Therefore, the reference does not quite make the impact it is supposed to.
Navdeep and Shweta play their roles convincingly. Sidhu, who plays the titular character, is the pick of the actors and he shines all the way through the show. Posani Krishna Murali is included with the sole purpose of generating a few laughs and this is usually the case with a film. Here is one more instance where the makers forgot they are catering to a different set of the audience.
Gangstars can be best described as a wasted opportunity. Despite displaying promise with an interesting premise, the show does not take itself seriously. It is one of those attempts you do not want to write off but at the same time, realise it is not worth giving so much importance.
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