‘Charlie Chopra’: Cast & Crew
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Cast: Wamiqa Gabbi, Priyanshu Painyuli, Naseeruddin Shah, Lara Dutta, Neena Gupta, Ratna Pathak Shah, Gulshan Grover, Paoli Dam, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Imaaduddin Shah, Vivaan Shah
Available On: Sony Liv
Duration: 6 Episodes, 34-49 Minutes Each
‘Charlie Chopra’: Story
When her quiet, timid fiancé, Jimmy Nautiyal (Vivaan Shah), gets implicated as the prime suspect in the murder of his uncle, Charulata ‘Charlie’ Chopra (Wamiqa Gabbi) rushes to his aid. Upon arriving at his family home in Solang Valley, Charlie uncovers the strange circumstances of the murder and soon starts unravelling the stories of this peaceful little town - long-buried family secrets, runaway fugitives, friendship, betrayal, love, and greed. But as she inches closer and closer to the truth that someone would rather keep buried, the next person to lose their life might very well be Charlie herself. Will there be more deaths? Will Charlie be able to solve the mystery? Will Charlie get killed in the pursuit of justice? Will there be any skeletons coming out of the cupboards? Well, for all that you’ll have to watch ‘Charlie Chopra’.
‘Charlie Chopra’: Performances
Wamiqa Gabbi wins your heart with her blatant, outspoken, and charismatic performance. She proves once again that she is not just about good looks, and there is a lot of hidden potential that the world is slowly and steadily getting to know. The way she breaks the 4th wall and connects with the audience is so charming and refreshing to watch. The character isn’t laden with too much emotional baggage and therefore Wamiqa Gabbi doesn’t even have to show off her wide range of emotions. Her innate happy-go-lucky persona is all that makes this character simply too adorable to miss out on.
Priyanshu Painyuli has come up with another performance where you completely lose focus of his real-life persona and can just see the character. Playing a small-time news reporter, he manages to get a lot of the colloquial innuendos and professional jargon that connect you instantly to the character.
Vivaan Shah was barely there. He was supposed to be the lead character who was convicted of murder. Sadly, he doesn’t have anything to do in the entire scheme of things where others are trying to either save him or make sure that he stays behind bars. His input and his contribution to the entire storyline feel zilch.
What a solid performer is Gulshan Grover! By God, even in an extended cameo, he has played the character with so much gusto that you invariably end up remembering the character. In the way he subtly shows off his negative side, you can feel glimpses of his iconic villainous badman character. To add to that, you’ve his characteristic voice and the tough guy brigadier look that makes the character even more memorable.
Naseeruddin Shah, Lara Dutta, Neena Gupta, Ratna Pathak Shah, Paoli Dam, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Imaaduddin Shah – all have been given decent parts and have all done decently well. However, besides Neena Gupta in the final episode, none of the others have any stand-out scenes which would make you remember the show on their name. All their characters are small and therefore they don’t have too much wing span to profess their talents.
‘Charlie Chopra’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects
Vishal Bhardwaj, Jyotsna Hariharan and Anjum Rajabali’s writing is really the best part of the show. The way the entire show is adapted from an Agatha Christie novel and set up in two small towns in Himachal Pradesh is brilliant. The way they’ve written the lead character is commendable. In the initial episode and a half, you’re just trying to figure out what’s happening as every actor is a big name and everyone has a good contribution to the plot, but it’s only after that when the show picks up the pace and the lead detective’s character comes out so brilliantly with shining colours.
Vishal Bhardwaj shows once again why he is one of the most popular directors in India. The way he decided to break the 4th wall and make the lead character connect with the audience and fill the gaps in the audience’s understanding of the story is brilliantly executed. There is not a single place where you feel that this was unnecessary or that it was done out of turn. To add to that, the way he has so smoothly presented the concoction of a brilliant story and some breathtaking shots are pure genius.
Tassaduq Hussain’s cinematography is another high point of the story. The snowcapped locales of Manali and Solang Valley have been so beautifully captured that you’re left mesmerised. What’s so good is that the locales also play an important part in the storyline. Getting the snowfall shots so perfectly makes you feel that they’ve actually shot during the snow and not under artificial fake snow. Also, considering a chunk of the show is shot at night, there isn’t even a single place where you feel that the lighting is too dark to comprehend what’s going on.
Manas Mittal’s editing is crisp. Not for a minute would you feel that the show is dragging. Completing such a complex story in just 6 episodes is a talent in itself.
Vishal Bhardwaj is one of the very few geniuses who can make songs in a web series come up so naturally without breaking the flow of the story. The background score is racy, the opening title track is catchy and a few of the emotional songs are so good that they deserve a place in your playlists. The music is exceptionally good.
‘Charlie Chopra’: Can Kids Watch It?
‘Charlie Chopra’ is one of the best murder mysteries to have been ever made in Indian cinema. Vishal Bhardwaj is a true genius for having managed to keep the intrigue factor even post-climax. Wamiqa Gabbi as the lead was brilliant. Overall, this is a Must Watch. I am going with 4.5 stars.