The 10-part series, which drops on Voot Select tomorrow, follows the character’s exploits as he tries to manipulate the political system and become the chief minister of Karnataka
Last Updated: 10.29 AM, Jan 05, 2022
Story: Nograj’s One Big Party gets all of 36 seats in the assembly elections, but is in kingmaker position, because his support can make or break the future of either of the other two contenders for government formation. While Nograj forms a coalition with one by forcefully detaining all the members at a resort in the outskirts of the city, his challenger, Krishna Gundu Bala, is only three MLA’s away from staking claim to being CM. Can Nograj outwit him and make it to the CM’s chair?
Review: From being a skit character lasting only a few minutes, Nograj got a full movie outing in 2018 and is now in a 10-episode show (about 5-6 hours run-time), which, truth be told, I wish they hadn’t. Forget bingeing, getting through these 10 episodes over two days was quite the task – I just wanted it to end. This just doesn’t have the legs to warrant a full web series.
The first issue I had with the show is that it is being sold as a Kannada web series. A very rough estimate would be that not even 15% of the dialogues in the film are in Kannada. Nograj, who until not long ago was the butt of jokes for his attempts at speaking grammatically and politically incorrect English, has now mastered the language and how. Only the thick accent remains, which is supposed to be funny still. All the fun lines that evoke laughs are in English; it’s almost as if Saad Khan, the director, and Danish Sait, who plays Nograj, wrote the show for their Improv audience. Yes, Kannada audiences watch content from across the world, but it is with the understanding that these shows/films will be in their original language or dubbed into a language they understand. Where does HPN fit in this scheme of things?
But it’s not all downhill for HPN. There are some clever references to local and national politics, be it the Most Secular Party, which is also the ruling party at the Centre, with a PM who spends more time abroad than in India and the Family Run Party, with a clueless scion and his Italian mother, who pulls the threads. But along the way, it gets tiresome watching Danish ham it up as Nograj, because it is repetitive (I actually skipped ahead each time he clutched his chest to cry/moan in despair) after a point. Thankfully, though, they made a very wise choice in casting Prakash Belawadi as Krishna Gundu Bala, the leader of the Most Secular Party, who, with 111 MLAs has his sights set on being CM. Prakash is an absolute blast and the reason I could make it through the 10 episodes of the show. Hats off to you, Danish, for giving Prakash some of the best lines on the show and literally allowing him to steal the show from right under your nose.
Verdict: Humble Politiciann Nograj is not a laugh riot, but will have you chuckle here and there with the references to politics and other day-to-day stuff. We recommend that you do not binge-watch it. Give it a dekko every now and then or if you are taking a quick break. The show ends with the premise of a possible second season; well, here’s hoping that Danish lives up to his multiple promises to rest Mr Nags.