Vikram Ravichandran and Aditi Prabhudeva star in this 7-part web series which currently streaming on Jio Cinema.
Last Updated: 07.00 AM, May 22, 2023
Shiva, a young businesswoman, marries the recently-widowed Abhi (Aditi Prabhudeva) but things do not get off to a good start between them. Abhi is still grieving the recent death of her first husband, Rajesh, and although Shiva is quite willing to give her the required time and space, her heart isn't yet there in the new relationship. While the newlyweds try to make things work, a police investigation digs out a few startling facts about Rajesh's death and casts a shadow of suspicion on both Abhi and Shiva. Does Abhi have anything to do with her husband's death? Or does Shiva's shady and mysterious past withhold the answer?
Vikram Ravichandran and Aditi Prabhudeva make their OTT debut with Love You Abhi, a 7-part web series currently streaming on Jio Cinema. At a time when one finds prominent names of the Kannada Film Industry missing from the OTT action, Love You Abhi comes as a credit attempt to challenge the status quo and encourage the newer breed of talent to try out long-form storytelling. And with each episode running up to approximately 30 minutes, this latest web show also becomes an ideal watch for family audiences who are looking for more diverse content.
An Intriguing Plot
Written, produced and directed by Kaali Velayudham, Love You Abhi follows the newly married couple of Shiva (Vikram) and Abhi (Aditi) as they try to come to grips with the unconventional dynamics guiding their relationship. Abhi is recently widowed and enters the marriage along with her toddler son and the show starts off on a note which suggests that she is talked into marrying Shiva by her ageing parents. Shiva, on the other hand, is extremely passionate about Abhi and willing to give her all the time in the world to come around. As a successful businessman, he showers her and her toddler son with all the comforts in the world, until trouble comes knocking.
Much of the show is focused on a police investigation helmed by a maverick Mangaluru cop, Shiradi Shekar (P. Ravi Shankar). Abhi's former husband Rajesh is presumed dead in a road accident but a random clue diverts the cop's attention to Abhi, implying that he suspects her of foul play. Shiva, who is closely monitoring the proceedings, steps in and tries to take control of the case to make sure that the love of his life, whether guilty or not, is not apprehended. Shiva uses his clout as a rich entrepreneur to navigate the investigation in his desired direction but Shiradi Shekar's menace is such that the task only grows tougher and tougher at each turn.
This is where Love You Abhi shines bright, where the idea of love & romance is coloured with dark shades. Elements of crime are infused seamlessly with the narrative which keeps us hooked and guessing.
A Sluggish, 'TV Serial' Like Approach
The problem, however, is with the manner in which the long narrative is executed. For starters, Kaali Velayuddham and team employ a soap opera-like technique which is largely apparent in the underwhelming cinematography and sound design. The screenplay, too, comes across as quite incohesive and the gaps in the writing are extremely jarring. One could presume that the 'disjointedness' in the narrative is a result of runtime constraints which, in turn, forces the editing pattern to be haphazard and choppy. As a result, the intriguing story never lures the viewer in and one is always left wanting more.
In his recent interview with OTTplay, Vikram Ravichandran revealed that he aspires to showcase his acting talent to the Kannada audience, which cruelly dismissed his first film. Here, in his OTT debut, he can spotted trying quite hard to make a strong impression and reveal his inclinations to experiment, but there's no denying that he has a long way to go as an actor. Be it his body language or the control he is required to execute in more dramatic moments, Vikram is found lacking the necessary tools. But should he continue to sourcing out engaging scripts and not stick to formulaic content like most of his peers, he is sure to improve vastly.
Aditi Prabhudeva is radiant in her role as Abhi and it's refreshing to see her not being overwhelmingly chirpy. Instead, the 'seriousness' of the subject matter gives her the opportunity to showcase her versatility but she is only sporadically impressive. P. Ravi Shankar delivers a trademark 'loud' and 'growling' performance but is effective nevertheless. Ashok Sharma, Vinaya Prasad and others, too, offer credible performances.
Love You Abhi certains carries a lot of potentinal but, as pointed out above, the technical shortcomings bring its credibility down. On the bright side, the central plot of the show is quite fresh and engaging for most parts and is well & far removed from the archaic tropes of our TV serials. That said, the web series isn't of any match to the stuff that the average viewer is privy to in this day & age. So, one does hope that the Kannada content creators keeps their chins up (and also pull up their socks) and continue striving hard to deliver more thought-provoking long-form content on the web.