It's often the small things that decide how good or bad a show is in its long run, but Cyber Vaar on Voot Select gets the small and big things wrong, and is weighed down by poor making.
Last Updated: 11.39 AM, Jun 11, 2022
Story: Ethical hacker and cyber security expert Ananya Saini (Sanaya Irani) has to team up with a reluctant ACP Akash Malik (Mohit Malik) to battle the clock in a digital blackmail case.
Review: Often, it does not take a lot of time to decide as to what awaits you when it comes to a web series. This has been the case with Cyber Vaar, streaming on Voot Select. The show’s story revolves around how the city of Mumbai is festered with cyber criminals and hackers, whose traps are all around, waiting to be activated before they sweep in and steal your data. The plot thickens when a police station in Mumbai becomes the epicenter of a cyber attack.
Ethical hacker and cyber security expert Ananya Saini (Sanaya Irani) arrives at the scene with her sidekick K (Keshav Uppal). The two of them, under the orders of Police Commissioner Roy (Indraneel Bhattacharya), work double time to stop the hackers from getting into the police servers. On the other hand, we are introduced to ACP Akash Malik (Mohit Malik), a pretty chill guy who loves to work in the field, even if it is for nabbing small criminals who are doing punishable deeds in cyberspace.
Both our leads meet, and Akash can’t help but keep trying to remember where he knows Ananya from. They get off to a rocky start, and soon find themselves working together trying to stop a digital blackmailer from running a young woman’s marriage. Our two leads are joined by K, Officer Asha (Neha Khan) and Officer Hau Sahid (Amitabh Ganekhar).
The team working together, putting their differences aside, makes up the rest of the story. The two episodes that have been released follow our team around as they try to put things together and nab the one pulling the strings behind all the technological safety nets.
We get a fair idea about the show’s quality in the first scene where Ananya is introduced. Though we can ignore the blatantly cliche intro scene of her hair being blown aside by the wind, we get to see about three seconds of her typing fast on her system. Keep looking closer and you just see her hitting buttons frivolously. While this is not a sin by any margins of rating a web show, these small details mount up and end up ruining the show eventually. There are numerous instances of carelessness and even issues with its making, like jarring sound modulation, that leaves the two episodes appear amateurish.
While events in the story bringing main characters together in a blatantly obvious manner and the final shot where the “dream team” walks forward and looks into the camera breaking the fourth wall are acceptable (unless you are looking for a pretty serious show), the writing of major parts lacks conviction.
The investigation parts are half-baked and the side characters don’t establish any real intent. The final scene where we hear from the blackmailer itself, briefing us about how and why they pulled it off sums up things pretty well. It sometimes feels like we are kept in the dark for the sake of it, while there was never any real darkness to the story to begin with.
The runtime of the episodes is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it constricts us from really getting any gravity on the characters or the situation, while it also means that you only have to sit through 20-25 minutes of what feels like a show that lacks any real life. Another thing that worked is that being a show surrounding cyber crime, it doesn’t really hit you with any jargon. But in hindsight, I am unclear about how I feel about this. Was it because they wanted to keep the audience in the light, or was it simply because the writers did not care enough to delve deeper. For now, it does look like the former, as the show offers a more lukewarm take on a serious genre.
There isn’t a lot to talk about the performances of actors as it stays pretty neutral, but it is important to say that one action sequence that we get, appears childish for the most part. Any good action scene is only as good as the stunt artists; half the punches and the stop-start kinds of editing just spoils the entire mood of the fight sequence.
Verdict: The only people I can see that would enjoy this show, are fans of Mohit Malik and Sananya Irani, simply because we get to see a lot of them. The show has half-baked writing and the below par making makes things worse. However, the shorter runtime is an advantage for those who do not have the patience to tolerate this mess.