Total Duration: 139 Minutes
Genre: Historical, Drama
Director: Sachindra Vats
Writer: Baljeet Singh Chhada, Rajesh Tripathi, Chital Rajesh Tripathi
Producer: Sachin Mohite
Editing: Sachindra Vats
Released On: 29 December 2020
Star Cast: Shaheer Sheikh, Shilpa Shinde, Milind Sonam, Sahil Salathia, Annu Kapoor, Poulomi Das, Anant Joshi, Kashish Rai, Lal Aditya, Flora Saini, Ashmita Kaur Bakshi, Rajesh Tripathi
Plot: As we are introduced into the world, one can surely make out that it is not the present times. The streets and the feel of the place have the power to transcend one to the 16th century in India to the kingdom known as Paurushpur. This place, as its name suggests, is known to be ruled only by men. This concept is not shocking as we know that the patriarchal tentacles in India are not just deeply rooted but goes centuries back. Women have no standing or say in this society and are relegated to the status of objects that are used by men for their pleasure.
One horrific irony of the place is that in the absence of a husband, women are made to use ‘vagina locks’, whether they want it or no. And anybody who dares to defy this rule is punished by her own family and then publicly executed.
This patriarchal kingdom is ruled by a grotesquely misogynistic man named King Bhadra Pratap Singh (Annu Kapoor). The King is married to Meeravati (Shilpa Shinde) who is his first wife. Meeravati is more of an agent to King than a wife who keeps providing the King with young queens to make sure his sexual needs are met with. The twist comes when it is ascertained that somehow, these new queens keep disappearing from the palace.
Only Boris (Milind Soman) has the capability to make the King cringe. Boris is a transgender, who seems to have some link to the queens’ disappearances and maybe that is why it seems like he has an edge over the King but who knows.
There are also subplots of the two princes of the kingdom, the eldest one (Anant Joshi) is shown unhappy in his marriage, while the younger one (Aditya Lal) falling in love with a maid (Poulomi Das).
In such a kingdom where women have no existence of their own, can they ever hope for gender equality? Who is behind the disappearances of the queens? Can women band together to extort revenge from their oppressors?
The series moves around these questions.
Review: In our pandemic hit lives, we all crave for some good drama to spend our weekends indoors. And that exactly was the expectation with the series, Paurashpur. But you cannot even cringe-watch this series though we admit this in a bold claim to make. But if you have consumed OTT titles in the past few months, and then sit down to watch this Ekta Kapoor series, you will know exactly what we are talking about.
A concept like this needed labour of love from the writers because the story has a huge scope and is promising. But that is not what happened. The series stars a host of familiar faces who are great actors, including Annu Kapoor, Shilpa Shinde, Milind Soman, Shaheer Sheikh and Flora Saini. But none of them could save this sad excuse for a period drama.
The script is abysmal. The dialogues are also plain, apart from a few which are again just ordinary or too funny to be taken seriously. One is ought to flinch hearing some of the lines Kapoor’s evil king Bhadra Pratap utters at one point while talking to his privates.
To add to that the cinematography and VFX is also poor, while background music seems appropriate. While making a period drama like this, these departments place a very crucial role, and hence one needs to put huge efforts in these departments, but the show falls flat yet again.
There are several elements of the storyline which need to reach the audience. However, it is ironical that Baljit Singh Chaddha, Singh Ranveer Pratap, and Rajesh Tripathi’s writing was sloppy and it failed to get to the viewers.
The makers have tried to titillate their viewers with erotic scenes, but they are not shot most aesthetically. One can feel that there is an unnecessary emphasis on such scenes, a majority of which, neither serve any purpose nor are shot well, making you wonder why soft porn is being paraded off under the garb of historical fiction.
The result is that Paurashpur ends up being a show which you can avoid. The only saving grace of the show is Milind Soman. He has given an amazing performance. He has played a transgender and has given his everything to the character. He has nailed the role even when it is not something which has been written in a great way. Shilpa Shinder is also fine but her looks have been ruined by loud makeup. Annu Kapoor is good but he has done better in the past.
With the feminist movement that is catching wind across the world, this show couldn’t have come at a better time. But the half-hearted effort to stream it asap has ruined the show in its entirety. There are many interesting concepts like patriarchy, transgender’s role in society and others. But in its current form, the show is a disappointment.
The only extra points that are accredited to this show is because of Milind Soman and nothing and no one else!