The Whisteblower (SonyLIV, 9 Episodes)
Directed by Manoj Pillai
“Kahan se shuroo karoon?” the blood-splattered hero asks at the very beginning, hoping to get our attention.
Alas, The Whistleblower is more bark than bite, more wrong than right, more noise than substance. It attempts to expose the education scam in Madhya Pradesh by projecting it as organized crime,which it probably was. Here in the hands of content creators who are clearly amateurish , the educational scam seems a smaller sin as compared to the scams that allow such mediocre content to make its way to the streaming platform.
Perhaps the writers and the team of The Whistleblower meant well. Education IS the backbone of a growing society, When it falls into the wrong hands it is bound to have severely deleterious ramifications on the entire nation.
Here I must hold the writers(Anjay Monga, Shivang Monga and Chintan Gandhi) culpable for placing the moral responsibility of the plot in the wrong hands. Television actor Ritwik Bhowmik’s Sanket signals trouble for the series. Sanket is neither heroic nor appealing enough to carry the show’s morality on his shoulders. Bhowmik who plays him is passably competent. This subject demands more than just basic competence.
What the series needed was a strong ideologue as a hero, not a wimp who sleeps with two sisters , played by Ankita Sharma and Ridhi Khakhar, both of whom are foolish enough to knowingly fall for this sex scamster? I found the whole siblings’ shared man-power to be utterly distasteful. I also prayed for Sanket’s libido. Imagine the sisters comparing notes at the breakfast table.
Bhowmik’s Sanket fails to rise to the occasion.Far more dependable as a hero is Ashish Varma’s investigative journalist Anoop whose snooping into the educational mafia brings him to a sticky end. In our films as in real life, investigative journalists end up dead .The villains range from a moustache-twirling senior cop who not just takes the law into his own hands, he squeezes all life out of it.
Archvillain Dadda is played by Ravi Kishan whose patented style of villainy(twisted polite sarcastic) is becoming as tiresome as his attempts at playing the knowledgeable politicians in real life.
Habitually competent actors like Sonali Kulkarni and Sachin Khedkar are reduced to props in the sordid game of one-upmanship of leaked papers and fudged marks.The dialogues are filled with filth like an overflowing sewer.And the beautiful city of Bhopal has never looked uglier.
The Whistleblower is neither an authentic reflection of the Vyapam scam nor an engaging onscreen interpretation of it.It’s just something that could have amounted to a lot more if only the writers had searched for a better moral centre to what’s clearly a hotbed of corruption.All we get is a cheap unconvincing cat-and-mouse game with educationists behaving like street dogs in the mating season.