The painstaking length makes it a cumbersome watch
Socio-political dramas with national security as a backdrop have been repeated several times on big screen and small screen including digital platforms. The recent Uri attack and surgical strikes that followed have inspired many filmmakers to make several shows with many similarities but with some minor differences. Shrikant Bashir is one such new entry with an old backdrop which is streaming now on SonyLIV.
It starts with a missile code getting stolen from a missile launching station and the SOT (Surgical Operations Team) makes the entry and saves the nation from a catastrophe by foiling the plans of terrorists and nabbing Samirullah, the brother of dreaded terrorist Hafizullah Khan (Tareeq Ahmed Khan) who operates from POK.
After losing the Chief of SOT, Shrikant Mhatre (Gashmeer Mahajani) gets the chief post by sidelining his colleague and more talented Bashir Khan (Yudhishtir Singh) which blows up the spat between the two making their differences a lot bigger and uglier.
Meanwhile, the terrorist outfit in POK plans a new attack and enters into a deal with international criminal Parker (Mantra) to spread Ebola Virus in Mumbai to demand the release of Samirullah by offering the antidote for the virus.
Now SOT has to find out the traitors within the country along with annihilating the threat emanating from foreign soil so that the country and its people are saved from the attacks of terrorists.
Shrikant and Bashir take the lead in accomplishing the mission and how they have executed the surgical operation against terrorism despite differences between them is the crux of the story.
Mantra has got a meaty role where he got another chance to display different shades which he has done with reasonable ease despite several loopholes in the screenplay as well as in his characterization due to which he has to ham it up at places causing pain in the neck.
Gashmeer and Yudhishtir who played the titular roles are able to just pull it off with adequate performances. In the end, one gets a feeling that their performances should have been better than what they have done but again the poor characterization is to be blamed for making their characters look so ordinary without any scope to do something differently.
There are countless actors in this lengthy series and it’s a herculean task to remember every one. Besides this, once the series is over you tend to forget everyone except very few will be remembered for some more time. Those few include Pooja Gar, Kunal Pant, Priya Chauhan, and Ashmita Jaggi while Manish Choudhary, Paras Randhawa, Kewal Desani, Imran Javed, and Tareeq Ahmed Khan are easily forgettable.
Behind the scenes
The story and screenplay by Shiraz Ahmed whose spark is seen in notable films like Race and Aitraaz is obviously missing in Shrikant Bashir. He has made a good effort to touch every social, political, and economic issue in the country including atrocities against women, corruption at higher places, and professional imbalances in his very long story. But unfortunately, none could be explored and exploited fully due to which the whole series becomes a hotchpotch of too many subplots.
Ultimately, the director Santosh Shetty also could not revive such an aimless and mindless script though he tried his best to patch up and deliver an acceptable end product but failed to succeed as many loose ends were left unconnected.
The photography of Srinivas Ramaiah relied heavily on the drone and aerial shots which turn into an eyesore after some extent as they kept on repeating scene after scene
Even the fights and action sequences lack the punch as the action scenes in video games look much better than these sequences.
The title track by Manish Tipu or the background score by Sandeep Batraa along with Avinash and Vishwajeet is passable except in patches but overall there is nothing worthy enough to be mentioned.
Verdict & Rating
The length which got banefully stretched to 26 episodes with 30 minutes duration of each episode is the biggest drawback of this series. It tests the patience of the viewer as it goes on endlessly and without any intensity or appealing content in this overly extended series.
Main culprits are the story and screenplay besides the painstaking length, the multitude subplots made Shrikant Bashir cumbersome to watch that offers nothing except a sheer wastage of 13 hours.