Web Series ‘ Rangbaaz’ has been premiered on the streaming platform Zee5 where it features Saqib Saleem, Ranvir Shorey, Ravi Kishan, Aahana Kumra and Tigmanshu Dhulia in primary roles. The series is based upon the rise of a young criminal Shri Prakash Shukla in the backdrop of Gorakhpur. The action thriller released on Zee5 seems to be their proposed content serving the wave where such other web series went successfully like Netflix’s Sacred Games, Amazon Prime Video’s Mirzapur and ALTBalaji’s Apharan. These four web series from four distinctive web streaming platforms may not seem to be intended competition but it now felt like so.
In that light, if one see where Zee’s Rangbaaz and where it stands among others, it is impressive and some way hopeful about its organic yet engaging storyline without overly-flushed with abusive languages or gore violence. Before reviewing the series, it is really to appreciate that Rangbaaz, despite being a gangster drama and thriving in the wave where similar web series are getting high points for their violence, abusive languages and some time out of line approaches to the drama, it maintains the core unique from others. In simple words, let’s just say, it didn’t misuse the popularity of elements working today like bloodshed, violence, nudity and abusive words. It is also important to understand that I am not condemning the use of these elements, of course, it was suitable according to the script in other web series. But it could have become a formula to hit success and can be glamorized.
Rangbaaz did manage to remain unaffected from the success of Mirzapur, Sacred Games and Apharan and it comes with own charisma and essence of engaging but rooted drama. The series starts from the special task force which is trying to capture Shri Prakash Shukla and his gang who is on run and hiding. The story goes forth and back to introduce the character Prakash Shukla from its rise of a criminal career. A hacker is hired in the task force to tap the phones and eventually their locations and catch the rising crime lord of north India. Saqib Saleem did a great job by pulling out this sub-rural character convincing with dreadful looks and wearing gangster’s pride. Tigmanshu Dhulia, Ravi Kishan, Ranvir Shorey and Aahana Kumar did a fine job balancing their roles towards the script wherever needed, they shined. The screenplay managed to hold the audience to witness this rise and fall of a twin side of the person as gangster and man inside, that’s the best part. The story has been told in a non-linear format where back and forth depicts either the contrast or the relevance of two sequences. The violence and gritty shade of the film is strongly rooted in its storyline, never exceeds it.
As the story is based in the 90s era, the production design has been quite subtle and convincing and adapted that time. There is nothing in the series which makes you feel reluctant towards the story, it is captivating and settled at the comfort of told enough, so no overdo.