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This article was first published 9 years ago  » Movies » Review: Ashutosh Gowariker's Everest is bland and tacky

Review: Ashutosh Gowariker's Everest is bland and tacky

By Raja Sen/
Last updated on: November 04, 2014 16:47 IST
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The Everest posterAshutosh Gowariker's Everest is made so tackily, it hurts, says Raja Sen.

The future of Indian television is, clearly and tragically, in the wrong hands.

The efforts made to "class up" our prime-time viewing are ambitious yet fundamentally flawed.

The right motion-picture directors are hopping aboard but they have so far refused to bring their storytelling finesse to the small screen.

Anurag Kashyap's Yudh was an absolute debacle, a loony show that, while it featured a good cast, lacked originality and compelling characters. 

And now comes Ashutosh Gowariker with Everest, a show with a potentially decent storyline and characters but one that is produced so tackily, it hurts.

Everest is unwatchably bad right from the get-go, a badly acted and awfully scripted show that hurts more than a daily soap simply because it pretends to be better than that.

It's not. 

Now the fundamental issue here is that there are so many options on television that, mediocre as the alternatives may be, the viewer isn't prone to give something a chance unless it is compelling from the start.

The pilot episode is what lays the tone for the show's narrative, what tells us what to expect and what sets everything up: in that context, the Everest premiere is sheer bilge. 

Like I said, the story itself at the heart of it all has promise. We see an overachieving girl out in the mountains mounting a rescue; the other protagonist is a boy deathly afraid of heights after once having let a loved one plunge to his doom. There are, even on the most basic of storytelling levels, possibilities. But the execution is horrid. 

Let us, for an excruciating moment, visit one scene:

the girl goes and fetches the morning paper, her mother teases her for having woken up so early, to which she reminds her mother that her graduation ceremony is that evening.

Next up, the army-man dad who derides civilians and scowls at his paper.

The girl nervously tells him that she, a literature student, has topped the collegiate exams on a state level.

Good, he says unsmilingly.

She asks him if he'd come to her graduation ceremony, and -- while mom and daughter wait with bated breath -- he says he'll see.

Cue jubilant daughter and ecstatic mom flashing her a thumbs up.

The only way this nonsense can lead to something good is if it is later revealed that he's a kidnapper not a father, that the ladies have Stockholm Syndrome something fierce, and that the graduation ceremony is something wonderfully sinister.

But let's not hold our breath (or keep our thumbs ready to indicate triumph).

What Gowariker will say is that the show will take time to settle in and that he hasn't directed the first episode.

Kashyap did the same thing with Yudh.

But if they want to try and shake things up on the small screen, they really should get their hands dirty themselves, just like master directors Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, and David Fincher are doing out West. Treating television like a stepchild just shows you aren't looking at things clearly enough.

As for Everest, as a friend I forced to watch the episode with me said, the mass-manufactured masala is better. I agree; at least it does what it says on the box.

Rediff Rating: 

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Raja Sen/ in Mumbai