Series: ‘Bloody Brothers’ (Streaming on Zee5). Duration: Approximately 37 minutes per episode (six episodes in all).
Director: Shaad Ali. Cast: Jaideep Ahlawat, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Tina Desai, Shruti Seth, Maya Alagh, Mugdha Godse, Satish Kaushik and Jitendra Joshi.
IANS Rating: **1/2
‘Bloody Brothers’, produced by Applause Entertainment in association with BBC Studios India, is the Indian adaptation of the British mystery thriller ‘Guilt’.
Set in Ooty, the series opens with brothers Daljeet (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) and Jagjeet (Jaideep Ahlawat) Grover driving drunkenly home after the wedding reception of Daljeet’s ex-girlfriend. On a deserted, residential street, they accidentally run over Samuel Alvarez (Asrani), an elderly man, and kill him.
While Daljeet is torn between guilt and morals, his older brother Jagjeet, a lawyer, tells him that the repercussions of reporting this accident would go against them. So, they physically carry Alvarez from the accident spot and place him in his living room, but before leaving the premises, they find a medical report that suggests that the deceased had cancer.
So, they leave his house with the hope that his death would be considered natural.
Naturally, things do not go as planned. Daljeet receives a call telling him that his wallet was found in Mr. Alvarez’s house, so when he goes to retrieve it, he meets Sophie, the old man’s niece.
Explaining his association with Alvarez, he lies, and thus to save one lie, he gets drawn into the quicksand of deceit. Things get complicated when Sophie starts questioning him. Other secrets gradually surface, exposing the brothers, thereby complicating their relationship.
Daljeet appears as a soft-spoken, poetry-loving, harmless harum-scarum guy who lacks confidence. He manages a café-cum-book store owned by his older brother. Zeeshan Ayyub essays Daljeet with natural ease. Jaideep Ahlawat, who plays Jagjeet, the street-smart lawyer who invariably is connected to the underworld, also slips into the skin of his character with ease.
The duo is ably supported by Tina Desai as Alvarez’s niece Sophie, Jeetendra Joshi as the private detective Dushyant, Maya Alagh as the unscrupulous neighbour Sheila David, Shruti Seth as Jaggi’s wife Priya, Narendra Sachar as the lawyer Jayant Mehra, Satish Kaushik as the local gangster Handa, and Mugdha Godse as the gangster’s moll. They all deliver good performances, but their characters appear forced to complicate the telling.
On the directorial level, the blocking of the frames as well as the dialogue delivery appear very theatrical and staged. Also, the plot, laced with wry British humour and grit, begins on a breezy note, meanders at a leisurely pace, digressing at moments to convolute the narrative.
The story gradually gathers momentum but doesn’t build tension, and yet the series possesses a core of human feeling, ending with the warped relationship between the brothers, which only surfaces in the last episode, by which time it is too late to appreciate the series.
Nevertheless, with the rift between the two brothers and their edgy relationship with the rest of the cast, the series ends on a promising note for Season 2, where we hope to see the true colours of the ‘bloody brothers’.