Art & Entertainment

'Lantrani' On Zee5 Review: This Johnny Lever-Jitendra Kumar Anthology Series Is Brilliant But Not Cohesive

'Lantrani' On Zee5 Review: This Johnny Lever-Jitendra Kumar Anthology Series Is Brilliant But Disjointed
3.5 / 5

Three critically acclaimed directors have come together to create a Hindi series for the first time. Is this endeavour worth watching? Or it bites off more than it can chew? Read the full review to find out.

'Lantrani' Photo: Zee5
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When it was announced that three directors who work in three different languages were going to come together to create one series, I was excited. ‘Lantrani’ is an anthology series that brings together three stories with similar underlying themes. The three stories are directed by Kaushik Ganguly, Bhaskar Hazarika, and Gurvinder Singh. The series is streaming on Zee5. In case you are deciding to give it a watch, here’s all that you need to know about it.

‘Lantrani’: Story

The series features three stories that are unique, satirical, and sometimes even bold. The first story – ‘Hud Hud Dabang’ revolves around a cop and a gay man. The cop takes the homosexual man to his court hearing. At the court, the man is shamed for his actions and even assaulted by the lawyers because he started laughing at his sheer helplessness. The hearing ends with the man being imprisoned. But he finds an unlikely ally in the cop who doesn’t see him as a criminal. However, things take a different route as the man is at the end of his tethers.

The second story – ‘Sanitised Samachar’ revolves around a journalist and a newsroom during the COVID-19 pandemic. The newsroom is doing anything and everything to keep itself running. They finally find a client who is ready to sponsor their channel. But he has his demands. He wants the star anchor to advertise his hand sanitizer, but she has been infected with coronavirus.

The third story – ‘Dharna Marna Hai’ follows the life of a couple who use the means of a silent protest to put forth their needs. The story sheds light on the problems of the subaltern couple, and people in general. They are protesting outside the government office, but no one listens to their rightful needs. It exposes the labyrinth of bureaucracy. 

‘Lantrani’: Performances

What sets ‘Lantrani’ apart from all the other anthology series is the casting. The anthology series has an unexpected cast of actors who are known to deliver their best. This is exactly what happens here. Johnny Lever has his comic timing right, per usual. But when it comes to delivering depth and emotions, he hits the right chord.

Similarly, Jisshu Sengupta does not have a lot to say in the story. He has minimal lines but the way he says that will ring in your ears after the story is over.

Preeti Hansraj Sharma plays the role of Millie Sinha. She plays a TV news reporter. While she is good at her role, she needs to deliver just a little more to elevate her performance to the next level. Boloram Das did his best, but what failed these two was the script.

Nimisha Sanjayan makes her debut in a Hindi series with ‘Lantrani.’ She has fewer lines than Jisshu Sengupta. She only has half a line to speak but she does a fantastic job. Jitendra Kumar plays the role of a common man yet again. But this time it hits differently. He has brought a nuance that has been missing from his previous roles of the same common man and that sets this one apart.

‘Lantrani’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects

The series is beautifully shot. Every story has a few shots that will stay with you even after the series has ended. I still remember a few shots from all three stories and that is a marker of how well thought out the camerawork was.

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 If I have to pick the weakest link from the three stories, it has to be ‘Sanitised Samachar.’ The story would have fit beautifully in some other anthology series. But here when two stories are talking about rural India, this one sticks out like a sore thumb. This is exactly where the cohesiveness of the series fails. While it is understandable that the three stories have a similar underlying theme, this urban story just offsets the good work done by the first story and the third story. It feels like a square peg that has been put in a round hole.

Apart from this, all the stories are well-edited. None of the stories feel dragged or lengthy. Every story has something to keep you hooked till the end.

‘Lantrani’: Cast & Crew

Director: Kaushik Ganguly, Bhaskar Hazarika, and Gurvinder Singh

Cast: Johnny Lever, Jisshu Sengupta, Jitendra Kumar, Preeti Hansraj Sharma, Boloram Das, Nimisha Sajayan, Rajesh Awasthi

Available On: Zee5

Duration: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

‘Lantrani’: Can Kids Watch It?

Yes, but with parental guidance.

Outlook’s Verdict

When three critically acclaimed directors come together for a series, you can expect a good watch. But sometimes this expectation is what pulls the story down. With ‘Lantrani’, the three directors have delivered their individual best. But there isn’t an overarching theme that connects them all. Sometimes it can feel disjointed. Every story gives you food for thought and leaves you thinking about the story after the credits roll. If only the stories were well connected or had one theme that bound all of them, ‘Lantrani’ would have been splendid. I am going with 3.5 stars.  

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