CAST: Jimmy Shergill, Arshad Warsi, Aashim Gulati, Vikram Kocchar, Namit Das, Gyanendra Tripathi

DIRECTOR: Pushpendra Nath Misra

Avinash Shukla (played by Jimmy Shergill) is a powerful figure in urban development in his state, with ambitions of becoming the chief minister. He is both superstitious and ruthless. After a troubling nightmare about losing his wealth and power, he confides in his spiritual advisor about his plans to “overthrow the government” and become the next CM. However, things take a dark turn when the current CM contacts the advisor, leading Shukla to order his bodyguard to dispose of the advisor by throwing him off a bridge.

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Meanwhile, a narrator (played by Arshad Warsi) introduces the concept of six “planets” orbiting Shukla, which are believed to fulfill a prophecy in his dream. Two of these “planets,” Yakub Ansari (Aashim Gulati) and JP Yadav (Vikram Kocchar), are set to meet in a bar due to their shared hatred for Shukla.

As part of Shukla’s plan to take control of the government, he strikes a deal with a major developer to build an upscale mall on land occupied by a massive slum. The responsibility of relocating the slum residents falls on the local police chief.

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We learn more about Ansari, a member of a small political party known for its violence. His vendetta against Shukla stems from the politician’s involvement in his uncle’s murder. Ansari, despite starting from a weaker position, aims to assert his power. He becomes involved in a protest against the slum’s displacement and threatens self-immolation unless Shukla changes the mall’s location.

In response, Shukla escalates the situation by attempting to set Ansari on fire after kidnapping him. However, he believes this will put an end to Ansari’s pursuit.

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The narrative in the first episode of “Choona,” created by Pushpendra Nath Misra, can be convoluted at times, making it challenging to grasp the straightforward premise of strangers planning to steal from a corrupt politician. Additionally, the introduction of the concept of “planets” and unnecessary narration can be confusing. The story appears promising but may require more clarity for international viewers unfamiliar with Indian politics.

Jimmy Shergill should consider staying active in his career rather than going into hibernation so frequently. He convincingly embodies the delusional nature of his character, Shukla. While there are moments where you can tell he’s putting in the effort and the performance doesn’t feel entirely organic, he still manages to portray the character effectively. Shergill is undoubtedly a talented actor who has found a meaningful place in the entertainment industry, especially in the current landscape.

Aashim Gulati surprises the audience with his portrayal of Ansari, delivering a strong performance. Although there are instances where his vanity shines through, his acting skills compensate for it. Monika Panwar’s character stands out as one of the most intriguing in the series. She escapes a kidnapping trap with guns blazing, taking on a dozen men. Her role as a news anchor is not just for tokenism; it holds substantial weight.

Chandan Roy is entertaining even when he’s limited in dialogue, showcasing his talent. Gyanendra Tripathi proves himself as a fine performer, leaving the audience eager to see more of his work. Vikram Kochhar effortlessly handles his role. Namit Das reaffirms his relevance with a standout performance in the second half. One wishes Niharika Lyra Dutt had more opportunities to display her acting prowess, given her exceptional talent.

Lost patience halfway

Streams on Netflix.

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