Kaun Banegi Shikharwati review: Zee 5's royal family Squid Games fails to engage or entertain
Show - Kaun Banegi Shikharwati
Platform - Zee 5
Genre - Comedy, Family Drama
Language - Hindi
Director - Gauravv K. Chawla
Cast - Naseeruddin Shah, Lara Dutta, Soha Ali Khan, Kritika Kamra, Anya Singh, Cyrus Sahukar, Raghubir Yadav
Plot Summary - Four sisters complete in a series of 'Royal Games' to decide which of them will inherit the family's estate unaware of the real truth their father, the King, is hiding.
Zee 5’s Succession meets Squid Games family dramedy Kaun Banegi Shikharwati is out now. The series is the story of a divided royal family reunited by individual moments of crisis to decide who will inherit the royal title and along with it the royal estate which is drowning in debt.
Naseeruddin Shah plays the broke King Mrityunjay Shikhawat whose love for games and tracksuits often keeps him distracted from the looming threat of losing his estate and the only remaining 120 people he rules over. When problems stare him in the face, he simply pretends to be sick to get his four daughters home who haven’t spoken to each other or him in six years after a rather public fallout.
These daughters played by Lara Dutta, Soha Ali Khan, Kriti Kamra and Anya Singh couldn’t be more different or divided as they reunite at the palace. One is a headstrong businesswoman with her own family who seeks perfection in all aspects of life, the second has dropped all things worldly and lives in an ashram but is desperate for validation, the third is social media influencer facing her downfall after an insensitive remark about the poor, while the fourth and the youngest is a game developer who possibly allergic to every substance on the face of the planet.
The plot is set into motion as the family reunites after the inheritance of the estate is put on the table by their dying father who wants them to compete in ‘Royal Games’ against each other to prove that they are the worthy successor. These games were precisely the reason why the family disintegrated several years ago but everyone gets involved as the stakes for the winner are much higher than a bar of chocolate, the prize they’d get as children.
Kaun Banngi Shikharwati then quickly turns into a family Squid Games where the four girls dress in tracksuits and engage in nine utterly ridiculous challenges which are based on the Navrasas. The King in the meantime sits and accesses these games deriving god knows what pleasure in seeing his daughters bicker and fight only to really egg on the winner of each task during a ‘mann ki baat’ session to win.
You can see from a mile away where the plot will land by the time the series ends even if you have seen the trailer but if you choose to humour yourself, you find caricaturish characters which sadly look limiting on the promising performers who essay them. There is no depth to these characters and the story frankly seems like it could go on for centuries but merciful you can remind yourself that there are just nine rasas.
Stale jokes are sprinkled all over the plot to make it seem entertaining but you are expected to honestly just bid your time till this circus of a royal family decides to simply just drop the pretense and address their problems.
The production setting and the cast might draw you in but the story fails to engage you with its done to death formula, seemingly borrowed concepts, and a longer than required runtime.