MUMBAI — This is a late review as I stumbled upon “Marzi” seven months after it streamed, but its synopsis seemed interesting. Not having watched the 2017 BBC series, “Liar,” on which this is based, we cannot fathom whether this series is as good or otherwise. But we must nitpick on a few things.
For one, the school in Shimla where the heroine Sameera teaches is actually Sophia College, Mumbai, and that is ridiculous because we can see the locale opposite that does not seem like that (or any) hill-resort at all. For another, a cop (Vivek Mushran) says that he “knows someone in the telecommunication department” to get hold of call records on a mobile phone. For cops on a case, should not that be a cakewalk as they can officially get it done?
Third (and some more minor gaffes apart), we have a teenage student Ayaan (Abhay Verma) impregnating his classmate (Mazel Vyas), and their teacher, the same Sameera, helping protect both of them instead of reporting the case! That too, when Ayaan is the son of Dr. Anurag Saraswat (Rajeev Khandelwal), a widower and well-known surgeon, who Sameera, a single woman who has a cop ex-boyfriend Nitin (Rajeev Siddharth), has accused of rape!
And, incredibly, this incident is not mentioned by Sameera at any stage to anyone, and while the doctor wants his son to believe that his father is innocent, he too neither reprimands nor discusses the incident with his teenage son!
Also, we hear about Sameera’s past depression and her susceptibility to alcohol, but her behavior in general after drinks does not substantiate her sister Isha (Shivani Tanksale)’s statement that her tolerance of alcohol is not good.
We also do not comprehend why the culprit keeps crucial damning evidence hidden in a friend’s outhouse instead of destroying it. There is no explanation given for the psychological base for why the rape is done, and everything that follows.
So, if you decide to overlook all these big flaws, you will find “Marzi” gripping throughout at 6 episodes of around 45 minutes each. A major chunk of this grip is because we are not aware that most of the glitches mentioned above will not be explained! But we are gratified that even if in the last 10 to 12 minutes, the story culminates and we do not have one of those all-too-frequent cliffhangers! The climax is thus very logical given the circumstances, and because we expected an incomplete story with just 10 minutes to go in the last episode, it was a sudden but pleasant surprise.
An additional and major plus point is that all the principal characters, except for the cops, are flawed human beings, and that makes “Marzi” a decidedly different story with a lot of complexities.
Shimla has been extremely well-shot, especially after dark, by the DOP (Sunil Pillai) and the background music (Sharad Joshi) is well-done. Kathikuloth Praveen’s editing is skilled but for an occasional jerk. Radhika Anand’s lines are very to-the-point and crisp. The script is generally tight but for the flaws above, of which, as I said, I do not know how many are there in the original.
The performances are of good caliber, and among them, Aahana Kumra as Sameera, Pavleen Gujral as Rashmi the cop and Shivani Tanksale as Sameera’s sister Isha score highest. Rajeev Khandelwal as Dr Anurag is more than competent, and the actor playing the man Sameera meets in a Mumbai pub stands out among the rest. Vivek Mushran’s performance as inspector Subodh could have done with better expressions. But his sincerity shows.
Produced by: Aakansha Bisht, Sukesh Motwani, Persis Siganporia & Mautik Tolia
Directed by: Anil Senior
Written by: Radhika Anand from a story by Jack and Harry Williams
Music: Sharad Joshi
Starring: Rajeev Khandelwal, Aahana Kumra, Pavleen Gujral, Vivek Mushran,
Shivani Tanksale, Rajeev Siddhartha, Suhaas Ahuja, Pavleen Gujral, Abhay Verma, Darshan Pandya & others