Tandav offers a better episode because the long game pays off, despite the total implausibility of it all.

Tandav Episode 6 Frame 1

Policies often require multi-phase planning. Like a game of chess, it is useful to anticipate developments in advance and consider them in several steps. So what appeared to be an out-of-context and inappropriate turn of events has now sown the seeds of discord between Shiva and Chetan, the University of Virginia students, who are in the woodwork because Shiva wrongly implicated Chetan in Vishal’s death. And it all blossoms between Shiva and Sanaa like a romance.

The plan was orchestrated by Gurpal at Samar’s request. The aim is to create a breach in the UNV party, which is achieved by an elaborate plan to first kidnap and kill Vishal and then place his cage in the Chetan box to lure him. The sheer improbability of all the parts involved makes the whole system implausible and unbelievable. After all, Sana would never have done that if she didn’t need the money. Or maybe the blackmailer was part of the game.

It is also unclear at this stage what the intentions are. Maybe Samar wants Shiva to come out of his university roots and play a big game where he can help Samar overthrow Anuradha with the support of the youth. Or Samar is looking for sympathy votes, as seen in his arrogant speech about caring for people like Vishal, but smiles at the positive coverage of the event. Again, the intent is commendable, but the writing seems too far gone to put these pieces in place.

Tandav Episode 6 Frame 2

Critic Kamra’s Sanaa could be the dark horse of the show. With the trauma she went through, she pretty much gave up on the whole thing. She also has an almost murderous relationship with Jigar, unwittingly a victim of Stockholm syndrome. Kamra does her best with the material provided, but a little more concentration on her confused life could have led to a fascinating character break.

And while it continues to appear, Dino Morea’s Jigar is also interesting in its own way. His constant attachment to his wife and his burning desire to cling to her, even as he struggles to attract the attention of young women, curiously explain much of the flaw in the characterization. He wants more, but he’s always afraid to let go of what he has. This angle is also not much explored, and Sandhya Mridul is seriously wasted as a side effect, given the strength of her abilities. I hope there’s more in stock.

We also eventually received a warning from Anuradha’s son, Raghu, that he did not hand over the file to the Defence Ministry. Anuradha rightly explains that things have to evolve slowly to look natural. Anuradha’s hesitant reaction to Raghu’s paternity suggests that there is more to this story than is attributed to us, and I’m glad that at least some of the secrets are being kept and organically put in place so that their eventual revelation will be a shocking but expected surprise. Dimple Kapadia is frivolous in his manner, but is also praised by Paresh Pahuja for standing up to the star Tenet.

It was also refreshing to see more Gurpal. Sunil Grover was a big dominant presence throughout the show, and we see him perform some really threatening moves. His cold eyes make him one of the most sublime personalities on the show, and his ruthless behavior and approach to getting the job done are the kind of person politicians want to keep. He doesn’t really have the loyalty that makes him a dangerous and unpredictable savage over the course of the show.

With three episodes to go, I expected Shiva to somehow work with Samar, especially after he clearly neglected Samar. He has the potential for politics, and the fight against climate change has allowed him to get his hands dirty when needed. It was probably the last confirmation Samar needed to know this young man was ready. But if my speculations are unfounded, I’d love to see how Shiva fits into Samar’s larger plan.

Tandav Season 1 Episode 6 Rating: 7.5 out of 10

I will be doing reviews of individual episodes of season one of Tandav. These reviews will contain spoilers until the episode is reviewed. Read on and let me know what you think of these different reviews in the comments below.

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