Puli Meka Series Review: Lavanya Tripathi shines in this cop thriller which lacks emotional depth
A serial killer is on the loose in Hyderabad and is killing cops one after the other. The top cop(Suman) brings out his best weapon, IPS officer Kiran Prabha(Lavanya Tripathi) to nab the killer. She starts her investigation with the clues team headed by Prabhakar(Aaadhi Sai Kumar), who is also in love with Kiran. In a tragic turnaround of events, Prabhakar finds out a clue that puts him in a crazy situation which he cannot reveal to anyone. What is that clue? What is behind these murders? Did Kiran nab the killer? To know the answers, you need to watch the eight episode web series on Zee5.
Puli Meka is Zee5's latest offering that has been directed by Chakravarthy Reddy. The casting has been done right and the series marks the debut of Lavanya Tripathi and Aadhi Saikumar into the OTT world. The show is about a serial killer with a past that has decent emotions. One can say that director Chakravarthy has treated the show more as a movie than a web series.
Noted writer, Kona Venkat has created and produced this web series. As he is used to pen stories for movies, he gave this web series a movie kind of a feel. There is comedy, songs and so many unwanted family emotions that bring down the seriousness of the show. Puli Meka has a decent premise but the production values are not that great. In many areas, it looks like a very low quality production that does not create much impact.
One of the major drawbacks of the series is the slow pace. The show takes forever to enter into the main plot. There are eight episodes in total and each has a runtime of 30 minutes but they too feel long. The way the murders are showcased in the beginning is silly and does not create any emotional impact. Web series have an intriguing feeling lurking around them but here there is a love angle between the lead pair and so much unnecessary family drama that makes you feel irritated.
Coming to the performances, Lavanya Tripathi has the best role and impresses as a lady cop. Lavanya sheds her glam image and brings out her action avatar and makes us believe she is the one who we can root for. The way she does action, changes gear in the last few episodes and also commands interest in all the investigation scenes was impressive. Aadhi Sai Kumar is also pretty good in his role. Though he does not have much scope initially, he takes things in hand by the end and is amazing.
Siri Hanmanth of Bigg Boss fame gets a very crucial role and she was surprisingly good. The emotions connected to her key role were brought out well by the young actress. Raja Chembolu, who plays Aadhi's brother, was impressive in his negative role. Last but not least, it was so good to see senior actor Suman getting such a crucial role and bringing a lot of depth to this otherwise ordinary thriller. The rest of the cast were also decent.
Praveen Lakkaraju has composed the music score which does not create much impact. The haunting effect that is a must for any BGM in a web series is not brought out properly. The camerawork is decent and the costumes by Neeraja Kona are perfect. As said earlier, the production values are not that great as many scenes and investigation setup look over the top. The dialogues are nice and so was the way the lead to each episode was left out.
Having said all this, director Chakravarthy Reddy leaves his best work for the last. A major twist is revealed by the end of the fifth episode and from there Puli Meka becomes exciting. The tension, a parallel investigation, twists and turns, the show starts making sense as the director talks only about the man behind these killings and leads various tracks of investigation are shown in an engaging manner and ends the show on a good note. The layered tracks and their purpose make a lot of sense and give the viewer a satisfaction.
On the whole, Puli Meka has an interesting storyline but is narrated in an old-school manner. The series only gets engaging from the sixth episode and to enjoy this part one has to sit through the lethargic five episodes. The basic haunting factor that is a must in a serial killer thriller is sadly missing here. What could have been a very good and racy thriller with decent twists is dragged with unnecessary melodrama and by the time it starts making sense, it's too late. But still, Lavanya Tripathi in her sensational role and Aadhi's supporting act are the saving grace.