Hundred review: Lara Dutta, Rinku Rajguru’s Hotstar series cannot even manage a passing score
Cast: Lara Dutt, Rinku Rajguru
Creators: Ruchi Narain, Ashutosh Shah, Taher Shabbir and Abhishek Dubey
It does not take you long to form an opinion on Hotstar’s latest attempt at an original series, Hundred. For me, it came just a few minutes in. A paunchy policeman with Chulbul Pandey swag makes an entry fit for Bollywood. And much like Komolika materialising to the sound of ‘nikaa’, this senior inspector also needs a sexy voice call out his name ‘Asole’ before he graces you with his presence. Now he doesn’t rank in the first or even the second tier of important characters on the show and yet, the four creators of Hundred thought this was a treatment fit for him. All it ends up doing is prepare you for almost four messy and unintelligent hours of a series that rarely delivers any laughs or tears.
Hundred stars Lara Dutta as ACP Saumya Shukla, a frustrated and flawed woman who is forever trying to make something more of herself than simply being the mascot or in her own words, ‘the item girl of the police department’. She is constantly put down by her senior officers and even her own DCP husband who wants her to live a sheltered, stress-free life to save her from greying hair. But she still goes out chasing human traffickers, organ-stealing gangs and drug peddling chains, only to be awarded with another transfer and a Women’s Day event that she has to smile through.
Watch the trailer for Hundred here:
She thinks she has found a way out when she meets Rinku Rajguru’s Nethra Patil. Nethra is a young woman who is bored and tired of her life. She lives for her family, which includes her lazy father, ungrateful grandfather and spoilt young brother. She cooks for them, washes their unmentionables, provides for them and still listens to them bicker about it all. At work, things aren’t any better -- she kills hours crunching numbers at the census department.
But things change when she falls to the ground and finds out she has stage 4 cancer. The doctor, in suspiciously concrete terms, lets her know that she has 100 days to live. A little concerned at the beginning, Nethra still takes in this detail with next to little hurt. After happily drinking her very little sorrow away, she runs into ACP Shukla, who ropes her as an informant with the lure of excitement and adrenaline in the final few days of her life.
While it was expected that Nethra would join hands with Saumya for some final round of fireworks, it still escapes me why Saumya would recruit a drunk and inexperienced half-wit who cannot be trusted when she is sober. Throughout the show, Nethra makes one baffling mistake after another, trusts the wrong people, takes nothing seriously and yet, Saumya risks her job for her, which already stands on very shaky grounds.
The women are supposed to be foils to each other, one a strict and no-nonsense cop and the other a bumbling idiot. But while Lara does a rather passable job as Saumya, Rinku can really get on your nerves. Her drunk girl impression is not even fit for your dumb charades party and it is equally hard to buy into her aggressively acted out ‘cuteness’ either. It could have been an opportunity to delve into the mind of woman facing certain death and also being allowed to live for once in her life. But Nethra only ever uses it as a card to ask for the dress she wants or the boy she wants. A sallow music plays on for the five seconds that she remembers her days are numbered and nothing more.
Lara, thankfully has a better, more complex role than Rinku to work with. She is the oppressed one at work but also the adulterer with a boy toy (Karan Wahi) under her arm, hidden from her husband. But there is absolutely zero chemistry between the two, rendering the whole trope useless. But Lara pulls her weight in other aspects. She is quite impressive as a cop with her stern body language, especially when she threatens to smack Nethra across the face. She can properly channel the frustration of being constantly put down by her boss and also the complete nonchalance of cheating on her husband. So everybody on the show may now thank Lara for the sole two lines of appreciation Hundred has got in this review.
Not just the performances, Hundred has a tonne of issues in the writing, editing and music departments as well. In 2020, we are simply not ignoring a jarring editing error. Nethra reaches home from work with wet hair in the first episode but it is only 10 minutes later that we watch her stepping out into the rain after booze fest in a bar. How is this still happening? The same background score plays scene after scene, episode after episode that you will end up hating the Kishore Kumar original it has been lifted from.
Hundred is a shoddily made series with no performances to watch out for; neither National Award winners nor Miss Universes can save it. We advise you to spend your days elsewhere, whether you have 100 days to live or a 100,000.
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