Kaun Banegi Shikharwati Review: A sketchy dramedy series starring Naseeruddin Shah, Lara Dutta, and Soha Ali Khan


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A still image of Kaun Banegi Shikharwati. (Courtesy: larabhupathi)

Pour: Naseeruddin Shah, Lara Dutta, Soha Ali Khan, Kritika Kamra, Anya Singh, Varun Thakur, Cyrus Sahukar and Raghubir Yadav

Director: Gauravv K Chawla, Ananya Banerjee

Evaluation: Two and a half stars (out of 5)

An eccentric ruler of an exterminated kingdom and his four drifting daughters form the core of Kaun Banegi Shikharwati, a sketchy dramedy that is pleasantly funky even at its lowest ebb. It tries to glean the whimsical humor from a whimsical king’s desperate attempt to hold his flock together and save his crumbling palace, but an open laugh escapes the show. It is an easily distracting, harmless parody of the effects of power exercised without responsibility.

The Zee5 original series with Naseeruddin Shah, Lara Dutta and Soha Ali Khan in outstanding roles oscillates between funny and emotional. Fortunately, the ease of touch ensures that the story rolls at a fair pace despite the many wobbles it gets into along the way.

The king, who has no income, has amassed huge property tax arrears after years of ignoring government decisions. His palace is about to be captured. A lawyer suggests putting royal possessions up for sale. A trusted royal aide advises the king against it. They forge an alternative plan to save the palace. Feigning an incurable disease, the king pulls the estranged daughters back to their parents’ house and lets them compete in a series of royal competitions to choose his successor. How this will help the monarch pay the government fees is not clear.

The girls who left home angrily six years ago are no longer in conversation. The old man hopes his insane reunification plan will lead the squabbling siblings to settle their differences and bond as they did when their mother was alive.

The girls arrive at the palace and the games begin. The king’s friend and advisor (Raghubir Yadav) thinks up competitions that involve the navarasa Theory of the nine emotions. But the games are not fun – the confrontations rekindle the tension between the four sisters as their vulnerabilities, pretexts and idiosyncrasies come to light and cloud the water again. Can the girls sit down raudra (Anger) and bhayanaka (Fear) behind them and find Shantha (Peace)?

That is the core question of the 10-episode series. The show relies on the dubious skills of Naseeruddin Shah and Raghubir Yadav to bridge their dreary moments. Also, the persistently cheerful craziness of the narrative does its part in wallpapering the less appealing parts of the show.

Lara Dutta, Soha Ali Khan, Kritika Kamra and Anya Singh, who play women who have to reckon with a host of tingling, unsolved problems that stem from their past, shape their present and threaten to influence their future, give the show their woman power vein . If one is a control freak who cannot tolerate anything that happens around them, the other is an embodiment of rehearsed calm. One is a flighty and happy girl who says she has no skills but is in love with the idea of ​​becoming famous; another is a creative introvert who has difficulty expressing herself.

The late mother of the girls (Charu Shankar, only seen in flashbacks) is above her life. There is a statue of the dead queen on the castle grounds. The lady is sorely missed. But it is the king’s disposition that runs here. He makes laws on the go without even giving permission. democracy bekaar cheez hai (Democracy is useless), he explains, although he condescends to indulge in something Man ki baat with his daughters.

An exclusive audience with the king is a privilege, not a question of law. It has to be earned. No wonder the Shikharwati Kingdom is in a doldrums. A young man (Anurag Sinha), part of the dwindling population of Shikharwati, advises the king and anyone willing to listen to him (including one of the princesses) that artisans are leaving the village for lack of opportunities and migrating in the neighboring kingdom of Mewar. The stubborn king ignores the writing on the wall.

As the story approaches its climax, Kaun Banegi Shikharwatistaged jointly by Gauravv K. Chawla and screenwriter Ananya Banerjee is gaining momentum. The double threats of a Dubai-Don and an undercover income tax detective, who have long hovered over the palace, arrive. Unaware of the problems that surround them, the Shikharwati girls keep shooting at each other.

The prince of a rival kingdom (Varun Thakur) makes his way into the palace, a Shikharwati citizen takes it upon himself to keep the king informed of how his subjects feel about their depleted resources, and the royal adviser acts as his adviser Best to save the people and their rulers from doom.

In the royal household, the princesses do not make it easier for themselves and the king. Elder Devyani (Dutta) has her hands full. Her husband (Cyrus Sahukar) owes a mafia don more money than they can raise. The second daughter, Gayatri (Khan), dancer and member of a spiritual community, keeps her secrets around her two adopted children. Your daughter is a clairvoyant who can guess the future. The king is mightily impressed by her infallible clairvoyance.

The third sister, Kamini (Kamra), Princess Kaa for her two million social media followers, is a minor celebrity who puts her foot in her mouth and lands in the garbage dumps at a poverty alleviation event. The youngest, Uma, is a painfully shy gamer looking for money to buy a game she designed. Their severe allergies prevent them from stepping into the spotlight and presenting their creative ideas to potential investors.

Naseeruddin Shah, Lara Dutta and Soha Ali Khan have the key roles, but it is Raghubir Yadav who plays the king’s main problem solver who often runs away with the show. He easily slips into the skin of the character and the screwdriver spirit of the story, complimenting Shah’s airy performance as a stingy ruler who anchors Kaun Banegi Shikharwati. While the two veterans hold the series together – she needs all her ingenuity – the four leading actresses don’t lag behind. Kritika Kamra makes the strongest impression by taking up the liveliest of the four roles.

Kaun Banegi Shikharwati doesn’t climb a peak, but it’s entertaining enough not to sink into the drudgery that, with a little help from the actors, it can’t figure out.

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