Digital Review: ‘Hundred’ (Hotstar)

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Hotstar Specials’ latest offering brings none other than Lara Dutta Bhupathi to the digital arena. ‘Hundred’, right from its trailer, gave the promise of the actress playing a rather fiesty cop. Aside from this, Rinku Rajguru of ‘Sairat’ (2016) fame and Karan Wahi take up the other lead roles of the series, which is a Ruchi Narain, Ashutosh Shah, Taher Shabbir directorial. The eight-episode series has been streaming on the platform since 25th April.

When Netra (Rajguru) discovers she has only 100 days left to live due to a brain tumour, she seeks to make these days ticking of items on her mental bucket list. At the same time, Saumya (Dutta Bhupathi) is an Assistant Commissioner of Police, looking to embark on an image re-jig. The two have a chance encounter together when a police sting operation goes wrong and, although they don’t hit it off, Saumya decides to make Rajguru her unlikely informer in order to crack a drug trafficking case. Will this traditional, dying girl be able to fulfil Saumya’s dreams and her own?

The direction of this series and its treatment is perhaps a real USP – if the casting wasn’t enough already. The show gives comedy, drama and thrill in decent quotients, ensuring that the viewer is engaged at most times even if attention seems to dither a little here and there. There’s been great emphasis on the relationships the characters have with one another in the show, with none being perfect and imperfections shown rather interestingly throughout. This is also a strength that the series has because the viewer isn’t always able to tell where the show is going which is always a plus – predictability is boring after all. Narain, Shah and Abhishek Dubey’s writing is something to be impressed with, especially the development of the characters on-screen and per episode.

To touch on the performances, Dutta Bhupathi definitely makes a worthy debut on the web with this series. She fits into Saumya’s character perfectly, and the narration as protagonist is particularly effective – steering the viewer as to whether they should be judging her or not, if the viewer chooses to listen that is. Her dialogue delivery is also spot on and the fact that her character is making her way amongst male peers is commendable and highlights some of the stereotypes which exist even today in many professions for women. Rajguru is a stunning co-star for Dutta Bhupathi and they both bounce off each other in the most alluring way. Rajguru steps into the role of Netra and it immediately feels in so many parts of the series that she is at ease doing anything to leave the viewers with as much impact of the character as possible – she’s good at shedding inhibitions, making her own judgements – even if they go wrong, being innocent but also totally on the ball and trying to be the dutiful daughter. Wahi, who plays Maddy, is interesting in this Haryanvi character, immediately adding the right spice to the narrative with his quirkiness and showing off Saumya’s not-to-straight side. He achieves the look of the character to a tee and it really suits him, as does the dialect. His performance is definitely applauseworthy. The other actors who are in supporting roles are also decent including Sudhanshu Pandey who plays Saumya’s husband, Parmeet Sethi who essays the role of Saumya’s boss and also Rajeev Siddhartha who plays someone Netra befriends to find out info. The rest of the caste are also impressive, providing the right support when needed to the overall plot.

‘Hundred’ is definitely worth a watch, if for nothing else then for the chemistry and the performances of the two main leading ladies – Dutta Bhupathi and Rajguru. They quash stereotypes and go through a voyage of self-discovery which ends interestingly. The narrative does suffer a little bit because it tends to become a little over-complicated in places but overall, it is still a good watch, if you can manage to carry on watching the full eight episodes.

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