Tandav tries to be a bit philosophical, with mixed results.

Tandav Episode 5 Frame 1

Somehow it seems that Tandav cheated in this episode. He conveniently introduced new non-prostitution related plot points to move the story forward. Similarly, new supporting characters were introduced, of secondary importance in the overall plot and whose unsavory nature should have made us aware, but instead confused us. Meanwhile, the main list continues to fight for the right to the throne.

First, let’s discuss a few good things. It’s always good to see an angry Saif Ali Khan, and his anger was at its peak when Samar was betrayed by Anuradha. Fully aware of what Samer had done, she denied him any opportunity to perform any meaningful service on his behalf and, surprisingly, assigned others to important tasks in the House, railroads, and staff development. She even handed over the Ministry of Defence to Aditi, although I wonder how her grandson fared. Of course, some of the pieces could have been better – Anuradha’s description of her as ambitious was a bit of an exaggeration.

But now Samar Pratap Singh and Gopal Das Munshi are without key ministries, which could lead them to come together and form a reluctant alliance to oust Anuradha from power. Without knowing it, Anuradha’s only asset is a farce because she has no concrete evidence of Samar’s involvement. I think he will find a solution and start turning the situation around, which could lead to a power shift in his favor.

Tandav Episode 5 Frame 2

Most of the episode focused on the two plot events that were introduced to move the story forward. The first was about Sana’s past, where she magically lured a sister whose boyfriend was on the wrong side of the law, committed suicide and lured the two sisters into a blackmail ring. The second is the disappearance of a new assistant named Vishal who was kidnapped by Gurpal, I would say for reasons unknown at this time. Eventually, Sana’s desperate desire to pay the blackmailer leads him back to bed with Jigar, who asks him to cast doubt between Shiva and his friends as to who was responsible for Vishal’s disappearance.

It all seems so strange, so disjointed and so out of place that you feel like you’re watching a well edited montage with catchy music, but underneath it all is empty. It’s a poor attempt at creating tension out of thin air, but it fails because you’re not as invested in these characters as you should be. Again, this might explain why we don’t know enough about these characters beyond the actions they take in the context of the story. They become caricatures, only to portray things as the story requires.

When the schedule is distracting, you tend to focus on the technical aspects. Fortunately, Tandav retains its production values and remains impeccably photographed, in authentic locations from Rashtrapati Bhavan to the Gateway to India. It lends an air of confidence to the proceedings, and at least in terms of cinematography or editing, the show doesn’t deteriorate, though I really wish they’d lower the score a bit. This is excellent in itself, but the incessant accumulation can be very distracting if exaggerated.

Political programmes often risk characters eloquently exclaiming that politics exists, and Tandav has now entered this territory. The episode even ends with a monologue about life and death that seems pretentious and buried rather than deserved. He begins to feel empty, with no end in sight. At this stage, it would certainly be useful to focus on the core and connect the two divergent plots as quickly as possible in the hope that their intersection will lead to a fireworks display.

Tandav Season 1 Episode 5 Rating: 6.5 out of 10

I will be doing reviews of individual episodes of season one of Tandav. These reviews will contain spoilers until the episode is reviewed. Read on and let me know what you think of these different reviews in the comments below.

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