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10 Reasons Why Yudh Was A Miserable Failure

Last updated on: August 19, 2014 18:59 IST

10 Reasons Why Yudh Was A Miserable Failure

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Raja Sen/Rediff.com in Mumbai

Raja Sen heaves a sigh of relief as Yudh ends.

When a television series I've been committed to ends its run, I'm usually sad it's over but thrilled at the joy it has given me. And I wonder what to replace it with and who to recommend it to.

But all I can say about Yudh wrapping up is YIPPEE!

When Yudh began 20 episodes ago, I decided to watch and write about each episode because if we wanted our television to become like our cinema, we should open up the floor for proper discourse. We should hold it up to a proper standard.

Unfortunately Yudh -- as you may have read in my Episode 1 review, Week 1 review, Week 2 review, Week 3 review, Week 4 review, or tragically discovered yourself on TV -- turned out to be the dampest of squibs.

Instead of recapping Week 5 and cursing myself for watching 20 hours of this, here is a take on the whole show and 10 reasons it was such a dud.

1. The pace

The biggest issue everyone had with Yudh -- from those who binge-watch American TV shows to the saas-bahu crowd to the Amitabh Bachchan fans -- was its constant sluggishness.

Even in the few Yudh episodes where something actually happened (maybe four episodes out of 20), the narrative was agonisingly slow.

Characters talk slowly, react slowly, and judging from their eventual behaviour, mostly think slowly. Yes, American shows like Breaking Bad are slow-burn shows that allow their characters lots of silent, meditative time, but Yudh went about indulgently throwing in chunks of nothingness without building the storytelling intensity to justify them.

Agree with Raja? VOTE!



Image: Amitabh Bachchan in Yudh.


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Raja Sen/Rediff.com in Mumbai

2. The protagonist

Yudhishtir Sikarwar, played by Amitabh Bachchan, could have been a compelling character, a prescient construction magnate who feels his power slipping from his grasp while he struggles with a fatal health condition.

But the show's writers and directors have -- perhaps in an ill-conceived attempt to try to explore Bachchan's range by making him less imposing -- robbed his character of all dynamism.

Taking a towering actor and making him into a frequently indecisive and unheroic central character may seem like an interesting ploy *in theory* but, in a weak show like this, all this does is give us a character hard to care about.

Plus one who often, in an attempt to be grizzlier than usual, sounds like a mumbling bear.

Agree with Raja? VOTE!



Image: Amitabh Bachchan in Yudh.


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Raja Sen/Rediff.com in Mumbai

3. The clown

Not just is Bachchan's Yudh illogical and often bereft of charisma, but he also, during his weakest moments, starts talking to a hallucination.

This bizarre alter-ego is that of a clown, and the game of who-said-what between lisping clown and growling Yudh isn't fun for the viewers.

The clown talks, advises, chastises and sings to Yudh, and tests our patience sorely.

This is another American TV idea used clumsily, and this is one dark-passenger we could all see throttled.

Agree with Raja? VOTE!



Image: Ishtiyak in Yudh.


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Raja Sen/Rediff.com in Mumbai

4. Mona Wasu

Unforgivably huge chunks of screen time are spent on a majorly annoying sub-plot involving Yudh's PR officer, Mona Shekhar.

Played by the singularly unskilled Mona Wasu, she's (yet another) frustrating character in the middle of a clumsily assembled story involving kidnappings, lesbian flirtation and odd kinds of blackmail.

The rest of the actors are at least good actors scuttled by poor material; Wasu actually makes her lines, her scenes, her moments far worse than scripted.

Agree with Raja? VOTE!



Image: Mona Wasu in Yudh.


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Raja Sen/Rediff.com in Mumbai

5. The amateurishness

I wonder how the show's creator Anurag Kashyap pitched Yudh to the powers-that-be.

'One old man keeps coughing, and we make his world collapse'; 'A man called war wages war with villains while we battle with logic', or, quite honestly, 'Let's just be mean to actors for a month.'

Audiences, too.

Agree with Raja? VOTE!



Image: Amitabh Bachchan in Yudh.


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Raja Sen/Rediff.com in Mumbai

6. The weak direction

Ribhu Dasgupta, who directed the yet-unreleased film Michael a couple of years ago, is visibly floundering all over the place with this show.

The shots aren't blocked properly, a weird Dhoop Kinare-flavoured theme plays randomly in the background, scenes which deserve urgency are remarkably insipid, actors aren't handled well.

Many a director goes from TV to the movies, but this really won't do as an audition tape.

Agree with Raja? VOTE!



Image: Amitabh Bachchan in Yudh.


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Raja Sen/Rediff.com in Mumbai

7. The cliches

The only thing unpredictable about Yudh is just how bad it turned out to be.

Not just is the story -- about Yudh's nefarious enemies, gangsters and politicians -- very average, but it deals consistently with hackneyed cliches.

It's like watching a bad Ram Gopal Varma film -- like Rann which also starred Bachchan as an honest, flailing patriarch -- only this one lasts five weeks.

Agree with Raja?



Image: Amitabh Bachchan in Yudh.


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Raja Sen/Rediff.com in Mumbai

8. The smugness

One of the reasons the show is such an exhausting watch is that it's weighed down with self-seriousness.

There is no storytelling grace, there is no subtlety, there is no lightness of touch.

The show's makers, clearly besotted by what they were making, constantly try and point out everything they are doing. Even when what they are doing is plain silly.

Agree with Raja? VOTE!



Image: Amitabh Bachchan in Yudh.

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Raja Sen/Rediff.com in Mumbai

9. The dialogues

The clown.

The businessman.

The doctor daughter.

Every phone call Zakir Hussain makes, in his capacity as fixer.

Every phone call the sunglass'd Tigmanshu Dhulia makes, as a politician.

It's all cringeworthy, it's all unimaginative, and it's all unfortunate.

And dialogue -- as we have always known, but have also seen in all the great shows during this golden age of television across America and Europe -- is key.

I understand we can't have Aaron Sorkin level awesomeness right off the bat, but forget the wit and snark, at least give us something we don't hate.

Awful, corny lines.

Agree with Raja? VOTE!



Image: Zakir Hussain in Yudh.


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Raja Sen/Rediff.com in Mumbai

10. The overall ineptitude

I leave you with a quote from my Week 3 review:

That Bachchan is trying to walk -- as Samuel L Jackson would have said -- 'the path of the righteous man,' is clearer even than Yudh's similar, stuttering mission.

Amitabh wants to change television, give us something worth watching, but right now the show he's in seems clueless about moving ahead. There are more pros this week than previously but Yudh is worse than a show with flaws.

To quote the hero growling sardonically to his mentor, 'Galati toh tab hoti hai jab pehle se hi sabkuchh sahi ho; yahan toh sabkuchh galat hai.'

Agree with Raja? VOTE!



Image: Amitabh Bachchan in Yudh.


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