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Critics Review
Mandaar series review: Anirban Bhattacharya's Macbeth adaptation is at par with classic films

Anirban Bhattacharya has focused on details, used his surroundings and characters to the fullest. Thus, Mandaar is not a series, it is an experience (closest to its adaptation, Macbeth) that stays with you.

3.5
Shaheen Irani
Nov 20, 2021
cover image
Mandaar - Debashish Mondal.

Story:

Mandaar (Debashish Mondal) leads a life as a servant in Geilpur. However, he has the power to be a leader. Can he be that without facing the consequences?

Review:

In an expected way, the series begins with a shot that leaves you amused. Soon after, the mysterious music and dance sets the mood for the show.

The characters are each introduced in an amazing way. The mystery in the first few minutes raise the expectations from the series. You get to hear the name Mandaar a lot but compared to that, his introduction is mediocre. The characters of Mojnu and Pedo are on a different level from everyone. They give out constant creepy and suspenseful vibes. The weird-lookong 'fortune tellers' play quite an important role in the series. Even though they look quite insane, the two characters are actually the most sane in this series.

Laili's character is quite interesting. Sohini Sarkar plays the role with near-perfection. Her obsession to get a baby, however, could get a bit much. Nonetheless, she partly leads the series to a whole new level.

Debashish Mondal, who plays the lead character, performs well from the first frame. The way Mandaar takes his revenge, is a scene that is so beautifully executed that it shows just how powerful he is.

The way killing is second nature to the men in this series is still astonishing. While Mandaar is constantly good, Bonka is truly a scary character when it comes to assassination. The 'top is bottom' and 'bottom is top' dialogue shared between them will make you laugh and think at the same time.

The series makes use of even pets. While the mysterious man by the sea has a black cat, Mandaar is seen with a dog. This also goes on to show that he is loyal to the person who feeds him. He confirms the same by stating, "I am a bloody wimp."

Anirban Bhattacharya, the debutant director of the series, makes an entry at the series. He is so soft as a cop that it leaves you wondering what is coming up next. His re-entry is apt and surprising. The way he changes colours is really something.

The series soon becomes a psychological thriller that is amusing to watch but scary to imagine. Like Macbeth, Mandaar focuses on the politics and power of an area. It tries to focus on the extent to which people can go to gain and retain power.

Anirban has made the series as intriguing as a movie would be. His focus to details make Mandaar a very interesting watch. He also happens to take us in the past in order to compare it to the present-day situation. That further adds to the intrigue while watching the show. He binds the scenes by a thin thread but it comes out so well that you cannot believe you are watching a show. In order to make a scene more impactful, he also uses camera angles like wide shots of the beach. These scenes all work in the favour of the series.

Mandaar is much closer to Macbeth, not only in terms of (almost) supernatural elements but also that women take power in their hands here, even though they don't ever dirty their hands themselves.

Anirban has added some sleazy shots which are a mood kill in the intense story. However, he has explored a marital rape scene in the series which focuses the attention back to the matter in real life. The actor-turned-director is definitely to be credited for the same.

The mid of final episode is very confusing. Various images are displayed in a distorted manner. It plays with your mind and at the same time, makes you lose focus of the series. Of course, you can guess what is happening but it just doesn't have the same impact. The scenes were, however, a message into reality. The same comes across in the very next scene.

It is interesting to see how the players who have a lot of pride, get played. Their plans backfire many times which shows how karma works in reality. This makes for the core essence of the film, sorry, series (a one which is at par with classic movies).

The series gets a fitting ending. It is something you see coming and still get goosebumps when the scene actually takes place. Anirban managed to leave a deeper message even in the scene, which is again the work of classics like The Shining etc.

Verdict:

Anirban has focused on details and made Mandaar as real as possible. His series works because of its complex nature in what ideally should have been simple times. All the actors perform brilliantly. In fact, there are times when Anirban falls back as an actor in front of other actors. He uses the madness and connects the rather complicated story well. Anirban is to be credited even further for staying as true to the original Macbeth as possible. He combined supernatural elements with philosophy/reality and made one of Shakespeare's greatest works into his own. Thus, this one is definitely recommended.


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