Cast: Sunil Grover, Mukul Chadda, Ranvir Shorey, Girish Kulkarni, Saloni Khanna, Ashish Vidyarthi, Dayana Erappa, Ria Nalavade, Shonali Nagrani
Director: Vikas Bahl & Rahul Sengupta
Rating: 2.5 Moons
Dark humour couple with crime thriller has become the toast of the season with audiences lapping up to them one after the other. Web series Sunflower, also the name of the housing society it chooses to center its erratic murder mystery, however, fails to live up to the expectations. The series starts off with a murder and two suspects- the obvious one with all fingers pointing towards him and the then there is the mysterious one with hidden motives and camouflage as tough as a chameleon. Are both of them accomplices or are they just usual suspects in a murder that has more to it than what meets the eye? This is what Sunflower tries to decipher in the eight-episode series.
At the co-operative society based in Mumbai, Sales manager Sonu Singh (Sunil Grover) is the obvious suspect with evidence piled high against him. However, Raj Kapoor’s (the victim) neighbour Mr.Ahuja (Mukul Chaddha) also comes under the police radar for his suspicious behaviour during the murder investigation. As inspectors Digendra (Ranvir Shorey) and Tambe (Girish Kulkarni) begin their investigation, the case gets murkier with Kapoor’s wife, played by Shonali Nagrani, entering the scene.
A good mystery thriller has twists-and-turns that remain elusive and catches you off-guard but with Sunflower the drama and the suspense in neither compelling nor enjoyable. Throughout the eight-episode run, the focus keeps getting shifted from one character to another without any interesting bait to keep the audiences’ attention intact. The characters seem quirky but are uninteresting due to half-hearted characterization.
Sunil Grover as Sonu tries hard to fit the bill as the ‘best salesman’ with the ‘best behaviour’ role. However, his ill attempts at serving outdated cell phone jokes don’t seem funny at all. He shines in the scenes where he needs to show innocence and proves yet again that he is indeed a remarkable actor. Mukul Chaddha plays a PHD scholar who is orthodox, narcissistic, domineering, violent and dual-faced and he pulls that effortlessly. Ranvir Shorey as the brains behind the investigation does a commendable job while Girish Kulkarni as the more swashbuckling officer is fun to watch. However, they keep on chasing red herrings and thereby the fault lies with the director and not the actors.
Sunflower is brimming with characters and presents the society as a dysfunctional family with Ashish Vidyarthi as the traditional, orthodox, septuagenarian who tries his best to show concern about women becoming ‘too independent’ to marry and his disapproving daughter Paddy (Ria Nalavde), a quick-witted househelp, the newest tenant Justina (Dayana Erappa) and her friend Gurleen (Simran Nerurkar) and more. However, Vikas Bahl’s world does not seem real and therein lies its bane.
Bahl’s and Rahul Sengupta’s direction seems lackluster and sluggish. The characters are uneven and not fleshed out properly. The set design is exorbitant that just does not go with the show’s premise of being a murder-mystery and seems more like a Barbie-film.
For a murder mystery to hold its ground it should warrant unwavering attention from the audience but Sunflower alas, fails to do so.
PeepingMoon.com gives Sunflower 2.5 Moons