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Post Scam Partik Gandhi Returns Full Force In His Native Tongue



Post Scam Partik Gandhi Returns Full Force In His Native Tongue 5

Vitthal Teedi(Gujarati,Oho, 6 episodes)

Rating: ***

Starring  Pratik Gandhi,  Directed by Abhishek Jain

 There is  a sequence in the second episode  of this fairly engaging  series where Pratik Gandhi,the Gujarati actor who  shot to national fame  with Applause Entertainment’s webseries  Scam 1992,  gazes at  the  girl he fancies.

It’s a typical boy-gawks-at-girl moment where she pretends  to be busy chatting with her friends.  Watch the  landscape  of  myriad emotions on Gandhi’s face,  from  love and  lust to  pride and    diffidence.This is no ordinary actor .Just like his rustic character Vitthal, Gandhi hasn’t gotten where he  has  by fluke  but skill.

I can’t say that this  series takes Pratik Gandhi’s success story  further than  Scam .  But I can  guarantee you a  Gandhi very different from what he was. Gandhi’s Vitthal is a far cry from Harshad  Mehta.  Though an incorrigible card-player and gambler  Vitthal won’t compromise with his conscience. Won’t sell his  soul for  rogda(money), will do anything for his  father(Ragi Jani, brilliant) and sister(Brinda Trivedi).

Just  after the sequence described  above where Vitthal  gazes longingly at  the  girl he wants to marry(but can’t)  Vitthal is seen entering   a tailor’s shop.

“My Bachchan has come,” the tailor announces  proudly. He is Bachchan  fan. There  is picture of Shri Bachchhan in his  shop. When he  compares  Pratik to  the iconic  hero it is no exaggeration. Pratik Gandhi gets  a royal treatment  in this series about an ordinary rural family trying to hold its head  high  amidst rising prices and falling  moral values.

Vitthal smiles at  the tailor’s introduction  and commands to make the  best possible  dress. “For my  sister,” he adds before the tailor and we  jump to our conclusions.

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 Family first  for Vitthal .And last. The early scenes of   the siblings’ childhood,lays down the family’s ground rules sensibly.  The series begins with the  mother’s death  and the  way the tragedy impacts  young Vitthal played  by  the child Vishal Thakkar who gazes into  the distance as  though he  knows what, and who,  are  coming.

I wish  the  scenes  showing Vitthal at the card table were  reduced.  After a point they look like spacefillers  meant to  keep the episodes stretched  out to a  playing-time of  30 minutes  per episode. The  crux core and heart of  the  series is  contained  in Episode 4  where after winning a bonanza for his dear  sister’s marriage, Vittthal  must take  a very tough moral  decision.

 It’s to the actor Pratik Gandhi’s credit that he is  so closely attuned to his  character’s heartbeat  .Full marks to all  the actors, even those playing minor roles of Vitthal’s card buddies, for  keeping  the  faith alive till the  final episode.

Some  episodes work  better than  the others. While the rural Gujarat  locations are drop-dead authentic and the camerawork(Tapan Vyas) significantly  articulate, the  background music does most  of the  ‘heavy  lifting’. It sounds heavily lifted from  extraneous  sources.

 Watch this engaging  though uneven series  for  Pratik Gandhi’s performance as well the  other actors  who surrender  to the  plot without a jot of misgiving. It is  a humane and  heartwarming story with  enough  fuel to keep the momentum going.