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Chutzpah review: Drag without the high

Rating: 2/5

SonyLiv’s ‘Chutzpah’ is an overwhelming tiring execution of an interesting and promising storyline. The series revolves around five stories that are somehow intertwined with each other through the wide black hole known as the internet. 

Story

‘Chutzpah’ starts with the introduction of its characters who are directly or indirectly connected to each other. The popularity-obsessed, Kevin (Gautam Mehra), is somehow the link between all the lead male characters. 

Kevin is a social media influencer who thrives on the social validation of ‘likes-share-comment.’ His arc is directly dependent on the highs and lows of social media and the ever-fleeting support of the followers, especially gaining the followership of Deepali (Aashima Mahajan).

Prateek (Kshitij Chauhan), his flatmate, aims to get laid by meeting girls online through dating apps. His only goal is to parade the new ‘hottie’ he bedded in a group he is part of, before blocking the said girl forever.

Kevin’s friend Rishi (Manjot Singh) is the timid guy next door who does nothing more than stalking a girl online, Richa (Pranali Rathod). For the rest of his non-stalking time, he watches porn and ends up meeting a cam girl, Wild Butterfly (Elnaaz Norouzi).

Vikas (Varun Sharma) is a hardcore Punjabi guy in the US for work. He is in a long-distance relationship with Shikha (Tanya Maniktala), his college sweetheart.

How these quirky characters’ interaction with each other results in chaos, forms the crux of the story.

Performances

With an intriguing premise revolving around the vastness of the web, the writers picked instances that aren’t new and hence, undeniably relatable to the audience. However, the characters lack depth. They are painfully one-dimensional and unexplored.

Making his acting debut with ‘Chutzpah,’ Kshitij Chauhan as Prateek is convincing in his role of an over-confident playboy. Narouzi’s embodiment of Sara or Wild Butterfly brings oomph to the series.

Aashima Mahajan does not hit the mark with her portrayal of Deepali mostly because the audience is burnt out from the show by the time it’s her time to shine.

The actors play their roles fairly well in hopes to bring a lacklustre script alive with charm and emotions. From Varun Sharma’s comical reliefs through a Punjabi ‘Munda’ to Norouzi’s Sara, all the actors seemed to embody their characters with the bare minimum of the script.

Positives

The premise of ‘Chutzpah’ is without a question, out of the box. The creators try to show the world that the youth is so invested and comfortable with.

The presentation of a world that is full of deceit, deception and cynicism is indeed an idea that is not as explored in the fictional world.

The notion behind the show is commendable. And the concept of treating the internet as the main character, while the rest being complementary, is fairly unique.

Negatives

The execution of ‘Chutzpah’ is mainly where the problem lies. There is no doubt that the team worked hard to bring this curiosity-inducing plotline to life, but it misses the mark.

The development of the storyline is a mess, especially when the character narratives are explored with no proper introduction to them. Amidst mediocre dialogues and screenplay, the catharsis moment of absolute resonance to the characters during the climax, never comes at the end. 

For instance, Norouzi’s character background is explored in the very last episodes which only makes it seem a forceful addition to solely fill a gap.

From her life full of pretence perfection on social media to her insecurities of her body, perhaps Deepali’s story would be the most relatable of them all. But the timing of her arc comes too late after much intrigue.

Chauhan’s Prateek is so tragically straight-lined that his only growth from an over-confident womanizer is to a womanizer who is consumed with malice and vengeance. Despite his despicable behaviour and the cost of his actions, there is absolutely no remorse and regret expressed. So, instead of the viewers feeling with him, they are no more indifferent to him than at the beginning.

The series tries to replicate the distortion of the dark web via replicating the lives of young adults. While the representation of these unspoken issues is welcomed, the makers fail miserably when the approach seems to be ‘woke’ but in reality, is just short of being indifferent.

Worth it?

The show is a mess, from its bland script and execution to its equally abandoned characterization. Time is precious and fleeting, so make use of it by watching something useful, at least hilarious. Meanwhile, Sony LIV’s ‘Chutzpah’ is definitely a miss. 

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