'Marzi' Review: Aahana Kumra-Rajeev Khandelwal excel while balancing a flawed crime-thriller


Web Series: Marzi

OTT: Voot Select

Cast: Rajeev Khandelwal, Aahana Kumra, Pavleen Gujral, Shivani Tanksale, Suhaas Ahuja, Abhay Verma, Rajeev Siddhartha, Vivek Mushran

Director: Anil Senior

Rating: 3 Moons

As citizens of India are currently confined to their houses, all thanks to Coronavirus, director Anil Senior serves us a moderately engaging web series titled Marzi. The crime thriller on Voot Select starring Rajeev Khandelwal and Aahana Kumra narrates the story of a rape victim who runs from pillar to post to punish her criminal. Divided into six episodes, each of roughly 40 minutes duration, one has to wait for a long time to find out the truth.

Set against the backdrop of Shimla, Marzi begins with a school teacher Sameera Chauhan’s (Aahana Kumra) breakup with her fiancé Nitin Dhumal (Rajeev Siddhartha). However, Sameera decides to give love a second chance by agreeing to go on a date with Dr. Anurag Saraswat (Rajeev Khandelwal), a widower with a teenage son Ayaan (Abhay Verma). However, this romantic episode turns out to be a nightmare for the lady as she accuses Anurag of rape by spiking her drink.

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The next morning, Sameera seeks her sister Isha’s (Shivani Tanksare) help. Isha, who is Anurag’s colleague at the hospital, takes her to the Police station. The inspectors in-charge Rashmi (Pavleen Gujral) and Subodh (Vivek Mushran) join Sameera in her battle for justice. As the story proceeds, chapters of Sameera’s troubled past and depression are unfolded. Secrets, like accusing a man of rape in the past and withdrawing the complaint, are revealed. Even Anurag’s personal life and how his wife Barkha committed suicide comes to fore. Despite obstacles, Sameera is determined to prove herself and punish Anurag for his crime. From sneaking into his house to travelling all the way to Mumbai to dig out information, she does it all. Sameera, even after the ‘system’ closes her case, takes it upon herself to teach the rapist a lesson. Rashmi, the pregnant Police inspector, becomes her biggest support.

Will Sameera be able to punish Anurag? What secrets do Sameera and Anurag hold? To find out these and many more answers, one has to hold on for quite a long period of time and that's where the show falters. Although Marzi decodes certain parts of the puzzle but fails to complete the picture. A dragged narrative pulls down an otherwise engaging thriller.

Aahana as Sameera excels in each frame. In the initial lighter portions, she is a delight on screen but as the show progresses, she conveys the dilemma of a depression patient who is a subject of the tiresome legal procedures to seek justice. Her scenes with Rajeev Khandelwal light up the screen. If Aahana is the heart of Marzi, Rajeev is the soul. He pitches in the right amount of maturity in his part as a doctor and exudes an underlying charm, expressing brilliantly through his eyes. These two manage to keep the show afloat which has enough loopholes to spoil the narrative.

The supporting cast of Pavleen Gujral, Vivek Mushran, Shivani Tanksare and Rajeev Siddhartha shine in their brief yet crucial roles. Abhay Verma and Suhaas Ahuja also do justice to their characters.

Marzi, which is the adaptation of the British series Liar, kicks off with a ‘did he or did he not’ foundation, but alas, it becomes predictable as you reach the third episode. Screenplay writer Radhika Anand sketches out characters who are let down by weak writing, overstretching what otherwise could have been a taut thriller. Subplots like Ayaan’s romance with his school sweetheart and her pregnancy, Sameera’s sister Isha and her extra-marital affair - do nothing to take the story ahead but merely add to the existing dragged screen time. The background is fine but doesn’t take long to become jarring. Cinematography by Sunil Pillai captures Shimla in its full glory. However, certain shots which could have brought in a punch of suspense and thrill, lack any steam.

Uneven throughout, Marzi falls prey to unnecessary loopholes because of the subplots which come to no conclusion. With no concrete end to any aspect, the Anil Senior directorial leaves the show on an unwanted cliff-hanger. Nearly six hours long, Marzi can be a one-time watch, strictly, that too for Aahana and Rajeev.


PeepingMoon.com gives 'Marzi' 3 Moons