Lalbazaar: A power-packed police drama like no other!
This edge-of-the-seat, multi-layered crime thriller which premiered on ZEE5 today, explores not only the crimes committed by criminals, but also the righteous and bent cops inside the force.
Cast: Kaushik Sen as Suranjan | Sabyasachi Chakraborty as D.C Sharma | Sauraseni as Mira | Gaurav Chakraborty as Sabir| Dibyendu Bhattacharya as Abbas Gazi | Hrishitaa Bhatt as Maya | Subrat Dutt as Gourab and Ronjini Chakraborty as Farzana Banu
Director: Sayantan Ghosal
Lalbazaar is not an ordinary cat-and-mouse chase between cops and criminals. Set in the dark underbelly of Kolkata, this intimately energetic police drama not only dissects the anatomy of gruesome crimes but also explores the humane side of the lives of officers of the police squad.
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The first episode takes the viewers right into the middle of a compelling mystery. Ruby, a pregnant sex worker has been most brutally murdered in Kolkata’s Munsigunj, a red light district and simultaneously we witness across town, a backpack full of human innards floating in the lake. The motive of the gruesome killings is unclear and as the rest of the episode plays out, the star-studded cast of the show is introduced to the viewers.
Assistant Commissioner Crime, Homicide Department, Suranjan Sen, played by renowned Bengali actor Koushik Sen of Aamaar Bhuvan and Charuulata fame, is the officer in-charge of solving this crime and brings sensitivity, smartness and sheer restraint to the character.
What follows is bloodbath across the length and breadth of the city. The plot weaves into its fold many underlying mysteries and situations that shroud the murder as the cops follow the trail of the murderer. But, it’s not till the very end that one is able to put all the pieces together and make sense of how the events unfolded on a fateful night in Lalbazaar.
But Lalbazaar is not just a quest to solve the murders. The plot delves deep into the psyche of the police force, which goes beyond the order of crime and punishment and shows officers as ordinary human beings with families and feelings, which sometimes can come in the way of their call for duty.
The actors of the show are its biggest strength. After riveting performances in Article 15 and numerous web series, actor Ronjini Chakrabarty impresses the audiences with another spectacular show as she gets into the skin of the character of Farzana, a feisty sex worker, who now works as an informer to officer Suranjan.
Another character that is particularly memorable is arch criminal Ghazi, played by Dibyendu Bhattacharyya of Dev D fame, who runs an empire of drugs and women trafficking in the dark alleys of Kolkata and is being hounded by officer Suranjan. Actor Sabyasachi Chakrabarty is convincing as Deputy Commissioner (DC) B D Sharma, an old-fashioned Indian Police Services (IPS) officer, who always has Suranjan’s back.
Supporting the main narrative is the sub-plot that focuses on lives of the police officers that form part of the core team working on this murder mystery. Officer-in-charge (OC) of Watgunj police station, Sabir Ahmed, played by Gaurav Chakrabarty, is one such officer who is caught in a difficult situation as he gets involved in solving the murder of a sex worker and in the process loses his unborn baby and his daughter is kidnapped. Suranjan is embroiled in a complicated live-in relationship with journalist Maya Ghosal, essayed by actor Hrishita Bhatt.
Sub Inspector Mira Dasgupta, played brilliantly by Sauraseni Maitra, comes across as a young female cop, who is out to prove her mettle and this case is her chance to impress her boss Suranjan. Police officer Gaurav Dutt (Subrat Dutt) serves as a grim reminder of the well-oiled machinery of criminals and police officials that operates so smoothly in our country. As characters link and interlink, the plot thickens unfolding the mystery of the sex worker’s murder.
The series uses colloquial language and this lends a lot of authenticity to the show. Lalbazaar shows Kolkata in a completely different light which is not often explored on screen. Shots from the dark insides of brothels and police lock-ups add a sense of realism.
The show has a little bit of everything – the good cop bound by duty and the bad cop exposing the rot in our criminal justice system; a human trafficking business replete with a criminal kingpin and a shrewd ‘madam’ of the red-light area. But in the limited episodes, not all the sub-stories perhaps get the resolutions they deserve leaving the audience with the feeling to dig deeper into the lives of these side-characters and subplots.
The quintessential cop of Bollywood, actor Ajay Devgn released the poster of Lalbazaar and tweeted: Karobaar chahe mujrimon ka ho, lekin sikka aur insaaf Lalbazaar police ka hi hoga.” This pretty much sums up the show!
The ten-episode series befittingly ends with a cliffhanger – the unsolved mystery in Maya Ghosal’s life. So we surely know that a second season is coming! It would be interesting to see where the next season picks up from. Until then, clear off your calendar to make time for Lalbazaar and watch away! Most of you might end up binge-watching the entire series through the weekend!
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Lalbazaar premiered today, on June 19 on ZEE5