Almost six years after the release of the iconic Gangs of Wasseypur, Amazon Prime’s latest offering Mirzapur is similar in essence, and yet somehow drastically different.
Supposedly Amazon Prime’s answer to the immensely successful The Sacred Games by Netflix, the only glaring commonality between the two is the gore, and of course, the ever-dependable Pankaj Tripathi.
Ali Fazal and Vikrant Massey, who play the protagonists Guddu and Bablu respectively, are the heartbeat of the show. The two boys’ journey sees them falling prey to the lure of the underworld.
The directors of Mirzapur, Karan Anshuman and Gurmmeet Singh, may not be household names, but they show the maturity of veterans in controlling storylines and bringing out qualities and vices of the characters.
Although slow to begin with, the narrative slowly catches pace as each episode goes by and the two boys go deeper and deeper into a world from which there seems to be no return.
By the time you reach the end you barely recognize them. There are also multiple storylines with other characters running side by side.
Pankaj Tripathi barely puts a foot wrong as ‘Kaleen Bhaiya’, the gangster and businessman who takes Guddu and Bablu under his wing after they impress him.
However, it’s Divyenndu, as Kaleen’s insecure son Munna, who gives a career-defining performance. His conviction while playing such a violent and terrifying character is simply astounding. Not to mention he completely steals the show in season 1 climax.
In fact, each actor has done justice to their role. Shriya Pilgaonkar as Sweety and Shweta Tripathi as Golu perfectly complement the two leading men and match them throughout the show as their love interests.
A big surprise package was Abhishek Banerjee, as Compounder, who gave us some memorable scenes.
What we end up getting is an entertaining ride as the two boys navigate the world of crime while trying to figure out their own ideologies.
Guddu seems at home with the terrifying violence while Bablu opts to keep his distance, using his intellect to contribute.
Aesthetically, the show might be a fair way behind the likes of Sacred Games, but the gripping narrative and standout performances reel you in.
You end up investing in the characters, not wanting any of them to perish. Even the antagonists are not shown as flat, evil characters.
Everybody has their reasons, everybody does what they truly feel is right. Mirzapur is proof that Amazon Prime is willing to match Netflix step for step.
If you haven’t watched the show yet, here’s the trailer to help you decide:
If you liked this, read our review of TVF Tripling season 2.