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Humble Politician Nograj, Political Satire In Polyester-Khadi Attire

Humble Politician Nograj(Viacom Voot, Kannada, 10 Episodes)

Directed  by  Saad Khan

Rating: ***

There is  a prime minister, played by the long-time-no-see Tiku Talsania who is constantly out of the  country  looking into  “international  affairs” and  there  is  the president of party called  The Family Run Party where the young leader keeps  running to his mother for advice. They even speak in,ahem, Italian.

But no. This  is not  about the  prickly political peccadillos  at  the  Centre. This off-centre  off-kilter  political satire is  just not  bothered about its khadi attire. Comic actor  Danish Sait who by now owns  his (anything-but-humble)  politician Nograj’s  wobbly character, dip-dives into the  despicable  dirty games that politicians play, and comes up with some  genuine if lowbrow, laughs.

 But be warned: the laughter  this time is as  ground-level as it can get.  If you are  looking for  edifying  humour, look elsewhere. Here in  Nograj’s  world the laughter comes from a place of  absolute self-serving asininity. Sample this:  Nograj tells his  ever-faithful assistant Manjunath(Vinay Chendoor) that  he needs protection. Manjunath  dutifully  pulls out a condom  from his  bag.

“Put it on your head, because  you are behaving like  a dick,” barks  Nograj. Well , okay then.

The knocks  delivered  on Indian democracy’s  hardened  knuckles  are  filled with  chuckles, of  not  a very refined variety, I am afraid. The cheesy  humour goes with the  mood of dimwitted political  horse-trading  in the series.Yes, MLAs are taken to  a resort and locked away. No it is not the last resort.

Director  Saad Khan  had earlier written  the film version of  the same protagonist political clown’s  antics in 2018. Over there ,Nograj played by the  delectably  over-the-top Danish Sait who looks  like  a confounding  cross between Pawan  Malhotra  and  Dulquer Salman, wished  to be  an MLA. Now he wants to be  the chief minister  of Karnataka, no  less.

I am pretty sure  he would want to be  the prime minister in the next  season of this fair-to-fine  politic aperitif  with characters  painted in such broad strokes of  satire that they end up looking like cartoon strips come-alive , which I suspect, is what the  team behind this  beetle-leaf burlesque wanted it  to be.

 Humble Politician Nograj is fun when  it isn’t  trying to spoon-feed us  with  unnecessary  information  on  how  the jokes work.At one  point the nosy female  journalist, working for a channel called, ha ha,   Paid NewsTV asks Nograj  if he is a leeeetle  jealous  of  his political opponent KGB(Prakash  Belawadi), Nagraj dials KGB’s number and pretends  to have a  friendly conversation  .

“Prank call,” he later  whispers to his assistant.

As long as Nograj doesn’t think  the audience is  as stupid as some of his political  adversaries, the series  is fun.By the way is  Nograj gay?  There are  hints  all over  that he is, his speech and manner.  But then  one  never  knows  about these  things,specially in  politics.

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