Cast: Vyom Yadav, Disha Thakur, Nurag Thakur, Vineet Kumar, Mukesh Tiwari, and ensemble.
Creator: Tigmanshu Dhulia.
Director: Tigmanshu Dhulia.
Streaming On: Sony LIV.
Language: Hindi (with subtitles).
Runtime: 9 Episodes, Around 45 Minutes Each.
Garmi Review: What’s It About:
A young UPSC aspirant, Arvind (Vyom), comes to Trivenipur from a smaller town and tries to navigate life amid college politics. The rivalry between the gangs consumes him, and he become the football between the two taking all the heat. What happens when his rage decides to take the centre stage is Garmi.
Garmi Review: What Works:
Tigmanshu Dhulia as a filmmaker with a voice situated right on the centre line between commercial and content, has been using the digital space to tell stories that are rooted in a milieu but also including the elements of commercial and content both. Even with projects that might not be close to perfect, he still has concrete ideas to offer. After trying his hands at a full-length suspense/investigative drama, The Great Indian Murder, a thriller series about deceit, Out Of Love, and a court-room drama that branches out into much more, Criminal Justice, he now tries his hands at coming of age.
As you could expect from a mind like Dhulia, this coming of age is not the flowery way, but a city of thorns, and the thing at stake is a young man’s innocence and determination to achieve academic excellence. Written by Tigmanshu with Kamal Pandey at his help, Garmi is set in a landscape that knows no law. A college situated right in the centre of a political hot zone is where this entire game unfolds. A guy from a smaller town is determined to pass a top-level government exam and make his family proud. But little does he know what awaits for him.
Garmi as a concept is not one that you haven’t explored ever. It is a story that falls very much close to many shows and films we have consumed in the recent times. But what Garmi does well is shaping the characters it is about to explore. It establishes its leading man in a subtle way. He is an innocent chap with rage in him that leaks once in while, only to bloom when put through a testing time. His trajectory is scaled and shaped so well that he doesn’t become a bad man in a day, but it’s a heinous process.
One thing that stands out about Garmi is how, unlike many other products, this doesn’t make caste discrimination its main conflict. The presence is, of course, felt, but it never overpowers the core story, which is dramatic, and rightly so. Tigmanshu rather tries to take the caste conversation a step ahead where the victim and the discriminator both are now jobless and aimless. In a very subtle scene, a character says, “Roti aur rozgaar ke maamle me sab jaat ek barabar (every caste is on the same page with unemployment at the moment).”
Even when the show talks about the naxal politics, communist ideology, and corruption it never makes them a in your face discussion and that is good.
Garmi Review: Star Performance:
Vyom Yadav as Arvind is a very nice discovery. The actor, who was in a brief part in Delhi Crime, gets an entire show to prove himself. The very first scene, where he transitions from an irritated disciplined young man to a man with vengeance proves why he deserves this job. He manages to make the viewer root for him and is an engaging performer.
Anurag Thakur as Govind takes home the next spot because he takes up a stereotypical part and makes it his own. He gives Govind a character of his own and makes you hate him for the reckless decisions he makes. The actor certainly does a pretty good job and deserves to be seen more.
Jatin Goswami as 100 ways to torture a person and he uses some of the most brutal ones here. Now playing a evil character in a Dhulia show for the second time, he proves why he should be a bad man in more projects. But he needs to experiment a range like he did in his last release, Gulmohar as well.
Garmi Review: What’s Doesn’t Work:
Garmi, while being an immersive show, also lacks a few things. Its main character is a young man raised very carefully by his parents, for someone who was taken care of so much, how do his parents not get involved in all the happenings at all. A couple of mentions of video calls feel like fillers more than a good storyline. The events in his life are not ones that won’t reach his family.
The lack of love in Garmi bothers a bit. Of course a key death becomes Arvind’s motivation, but it is not developed enough for us to root for that dynamic. And by love I mean love in all forms and relationships. The motivation is mostly revenge generated by enmity with no goal to reach to. Like there is nothing at stake for the key characters but just destructive revenge.
Dhulia takes the George R.R. Martin’s Game Of Thrones route and ends up killing a handful of pivotal people. Yes, it works very nicely in catching the frenzy of the audience but also becomes repetitive in nature. Also, why do we need Babas in all the shows?
Garmi Review: Last Words:
Garmi is a good product coming out of a confident filmmaker who personally understands a landscape and picturizes it likewise.
For more recommendations, read our Pop Kaun? Review here.
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