‘Hostages’ on Hotstar. A painful drag of 10 episodes.

a show review nobody asked for…

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“Oh, I just finished this web series, now what do I do with my life?”, a thought most of us have had. Not this time. After watching ‘Hostages’, I wanted to flush my laptop down the toilet and go for a walk to the mountains. I’ve always been eager to watch any Indian web-series there is to offer. However, ‘Hostages’ turned out to be like a wedding gift. The packaging looked incredible, but what was inside was highly underwhelming. Script, dialogue or a progressive storyline — this series lacked them all.

If you were to watch the trailer, you will defiantly want to watch the show. So kudos to a good trailer. But never judge a (book) show by its (cover)trailer. The show revolves around Dr. Mira Anand, a surgeon whose family is taken hostage by cop-turned-goon. In return for their safety, she must murder the Chief Minister during his surgery. Doesn’t it sound like a great premise for a show? Well. What ‘Hostages’ did is take fresh ingredients and make a broth of confusions out of it. Dr. Mira is instructed to contaminate the CM’s blood with a drug that cannot be detected in a post-mortem. They never name this drug on screen, because finding a drug that fits its description will involve the writers actually doing some work. A very SonyTV-CID thing to do. A TV show where they Dr. Salunkhe references to chemicals as “this red color chemical”. It’s 2019! You can’t be writing CID-level-crime.

You know a show is great when the audiences say things like “you will never guess who the is bad-guy”. Except on this show, I was genuinely asking. All the characters on this show are shallow and lack any personal motive. This is sure to leave the viewer confused. Before I can root for a character, they bring out new details about this character that adds no relevance to the plot. All the characters were too cliched. Generic dumb kid, generic psycho thug (who they call ‘psycho’ on screen), a generic corrupt cop, even a generic tough-chick with a soft heart. I get a strong feeling that the show was writing as-they-went-along. For some strange reason, new characters are introduced (with no previous mentions) in the last twenty mins of the last episode.

Prime Video’s ‘Mirzapur’ was a series about generic-gangsters. An overdone concept. But the acting and occasional good dialogues made ‘Mirzapur’ an interesting watch. ‘Hostages’ had a whole of zero memorable dialogues or scenes. There was nothing in the show that I would discuss with my friends over coffee. The action-sequels were average and felt un-choreographed. Every plot-twist or reveal felt very “first-thought” and lacked a buzz you would expect from a crime thriller in 2019.

The most disappointing part of this season — the ending. It is anti-climatic and too much information is thrown at your in the last five minutes. When the end credits roll, I notice a sudden rise in heat-rate, a feeling of agitation and the colors fade from my face. All of these are symptoms if being cheated. Cheated because there is clarity or resolution. I understand the element of surprise to keep an audience hooked for the next seasons, but this show lacked any sign closure at all. The millions of plot points that were introduced have all been left hanging. This makes me feel like there was no point to the five hours of bandwidth investment on this show.

Sadly, the few pros of this show have been masked by the heavy stench of cons. The biggest pro is the runtime. It was a drag — but at least in short bursts. The second would be the premise. Although a remake of an Israeli TV series, the premise of the show is worth paying attention to.

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