TVF has always been the undeniable King of web content in India. From popular web series such as Tripling, Permanent Roommates, Pitchers and Kota Factory, they have always levelled up the quality of content. “Aspirants” is yet another milestone by TVF. Let’s have a brief review.
Story (Spoiler Alert)
The story runs on two timelines 6 years apart and revolves mainly around the lives of 3 young UPSC Aspirants – Abhilash, Guri and SK. For a brief detail, UPSC is the exam for qualifying to be an Administrative Servant for Government of India, and probably is the toughest competitive exam around the globe. These 3 aspirants have already failed attempts in order to crack UPSC. One of them, Abhilash, is trying for the last eligible attempt. Apparently everyone has some background and two of them have failed love interests. While this all running in flashbacks of 2013, in the present of 2019, one of them has cracked the UPSC and the other two have changed their careers. This “Tripod” of friends is now striving to form a reunion at the wedding function of Guri, and are having hardships because of the hard relations they encountered in past. The story also has some mind blowing characters such as Sandeep Bhaiya, the Landlords, Abhilash’s girlfriend Dhairya and a UPSC dropout rapper Pema. To complicate the story, the sub-plot of Guri’s wedding with Abhilash’s ex girlfriend was a nice trial, which apparently has grabbed more focus in second and third episodes. The climax is an absolutely wonderful suspense. There’s a scene featuring Sandeep Bhaiya and his life lessons on unworthy sacrifices, perhaps the most beautiful part of this story.
This indeed is one of the most commendable jobs by the showmakers.
Whenever they showed the era of 2013, subtle references to current affairs of that era such as Augusta Westland scam, BT Brinjals controversy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the talks of Narendra Modi being next PM were absolutely on point. Similarly, while showcasing the aura of “Old Rajinder Nagar”, the UPSC aspirants’ locality in Delhi was screenplayed very effectively through dialogues. Dialogues like “Old Rajinder Nagar is UPSC’s Mecca” , “Nothing is worth if you have to sacrifice your friends and family” and all such dialogues that explain the motive behind doing UPSC, the dialogues that underline the importance of an IAS officer have been very gracefully written and delivered.
Overall, screenplay is very classically written to show the micro level details of direction and cinematography.
Direction & Cinematography
Apoorv Singh Karki, a junior name in web series has done quite a good job with direction. Though the double timeline style is not new, it still stands firmly out in case of Aspirants. In the meantime, the series becomes a little slower and I personally have felt that it could be better if a little faster. In comparison with Kota Factory, similar web series from TVF, I found that the details of classroom drama are not properly shown. This job belonged to both the screenplay writers and the director. A minute or two of the lectures of any of the UPSC subjects would have been really exciting. In Kota Factory, the lectures of Physics, Inorganic Chemistry etc. have been subtly sampled to add the effect. Still, Karki’s direction was marvelous. Just for example, here’s the scene from episode 4: When Abhilash and Dhairya were shown in each other’s arms in bed, the bed was a single bed and Abhilash could barely adjust on that. Such a micro level detailing of an aspirant’s love life.
Cinematography is yet another plus points of the series. Though not revolutionary, the camera angles are unconventional and very satisfying.
Background Score and Songs
Tusshar Mallek’s background, though not very engaging, but was efficient to create needed environment for the respective scenes.
Three songs – Moh Bhang Khuda, Dhaaga and De Mauka Zindagi, composed by Rohit Sharma were very melodious and pushed the story forward in a graceful way. I personally liked “De Mauka Zindagi” at the season finale. I don’t know why did I have tears rolling down when I heard the song for the first time.
The one with full pack of energy and has effortless acting skills, Shivankit Singh Parihar played the role of Guri quite wonderfully. SK played by Abhliash Thapliyal was also very nice. Namita Dubey’s portrayal as Dhairya was excellent, but sad that her role was very limited. The main protagonist of the series, Abhilash, played by Naveen Kasturia was a little mediocre. The best portrayal was by Sunny Hinduja, the character of Sandeep Bhaiya. All the supporting characters also did a nice job as well. All in all, everybody acted quite well.
The series is indeed a motivation not only for UPSC aspirants but every student out there. Amidst the mud of propaganda heavy, adversely affecting dark content, “Aspirants” is a ray of good hope. 4/5 from my side.
Dnyanesh Make “The DPM”