The Whistleblower review: Ritwik Bhowmik gives a good performance but the series falls short from becoming a masterpiece
SonyLiv has been boasting of great content for quite some time now. The OTT platform has given the audience some gems of series like Scam 1992 and Tabbar. With The Whistleblower , a fictionalised series on a real-life incident- the Vyapam scam, the platform tried to keep up with the streak but falls short.
The series starts with an incident that changes the life of the central character, Dr. Sanket, played by Ritwik Bhowmik . It is in episode 5 that we see the incident at the beginning being connected and the change in the character. And with the sixth episode, the realisation finally dawns on him. The series focuses on this character to take the narrative forward. Just like any other late teenager, transitioning into adulthood- he is a person who lives for a 'kick' in his life. And it is for the want of this 'kick' that he gets into the scam of sitting in a PMT exam on behalf of another person- for money. But what looks like harmless fun to him gets him into the nexus of the scam. Money is being given to get people an entry into their coveted job- of becoming a doctor or a policeman. These are also people of power who in turn help the process to continue. People turn dead at the drop of a hat before finally the central character tries to find a way out after his father's death and becomes the whistleblower.
Dr. Sanket is a man who's arrogant, has his own air and attitude, and doesn't care much about morality or about anyone else. He is confident and knows he can do anything or get out of any situation. The character is grey and highly complex. Ritwik Bhowmik plays the character with ease. He has to be overbearing and needs to have a super-strong presence. Ritwik manages to do it perfectly well. It is a complete turn from what we have seen him do before. We had loved him as the Radhe in Badhish Bandits, and he became a sensation with the Amazon Prime series. This is a tilt-shift for him and shows his versatility. He has people like Ravi Kishan and Sachin Khedekar around him and he still needs to stand out, which he does. There are scenes where you would marvel at his craft. However, what does not work in his favour are some badly written dialogues that go too overboard as he tries to justify the stance that he takes. He is good as he is, and the audience can be intelligent to figure out why a certain individual is taking the route without having to justify why he is doing so.
It is Ashish Verma 's performance that is brilliant. He plays the journalist who is hell-bent on going deep into the problem prevalent in Bhopal, without caring much. Ravi Kishan is also one of the highlights of the series who is just a treat to watch! Ankita Sharma was given good screen space, but not many shades were given to her character, Her arc was flat and she tried to be as earnest as possible.
The problem with the series is also the number of characters that we are introduced to. With 9 episodes of roughly 50 mins each, you will be confused as to who is which character and who is dying. I had binge-watched the entire series, which is pretty much a tedious task to do, and still, it took me a while to recall what character is being mentioned.
Ajay Monga is the writer of the series and has co-written the screenplay with Shivang Monga. While a lot has gone into the research, there are some flaws in how the series has been executed and carried out. You'll lose track, try to wrap your head around who is being introduced, and at times even gauge what's happening. The series had a lot of potential and spark and could have matched the level of Scam 1992, but falls short. But, as Ritwik said during an interaction with me to promote the series, this series is important and gives an insight as to how deep the same on education runs in the country. The effort was earnest. And therefore, you can give it a watch!