Hotstar Specials HOSTAGES review: Intriguing cat and mouse game

HOSTAGES is the latest offering from Hotstar after CRIMINAL JUSTICE and CITY OF DREAMS.

Critic review

Hotstar Specials HOSTAGES review is here. Streaming online from 31 May, 2019, HOSTAGES is the latest offering from Hotstar after CRIMINAL JUSTICE and CITY OF DREAMS. Helmed by national award winning filmmaker Sudhir Mishra known for critically acclaimed movies like HAZAARON KHWAISHEIN AISI, DHARAVI, YEH WOH MANZIL TO NAHIN, MAIN ZINDA HOON etc.

HOSTAGES – an official adaptation of internationally acclaimed series of the same name that aired on CBS which was based on the Israeli series of the same name created by Omri Givon and Rotem Shamir. The Indian version stars Ronit Roy, Tisca Chopra, Parvin Dabas and Dalip Tahil in pivotal roles. Does it gives justice to the original and stays true in providing thrills?. Let’s find out in HOSTAGES review.

Also Read: Awake movie review: A stealing still of desires

Instant reaction when the final episode gets over
The wonder of digital series is that the maker can create a movie of more than 3 hrs of duration.

Reactions following the instant reaction
But to maintain the thrills in the entire ten episodes having an average run time of 25+ minutes each is quite difficult. First impression is not always the last impression (remember we wrote about its first episode).

So is HOSTAGES worth watching?

Yes, if you fall in any of these three categories then HOSTAGES has the right to captivate you.

1 : You have not seen the original


2 : You are not expecting an ANDHADHUN kind of a master class done by Sriram Raghavan last year starring Tabu, Ayushmann Khurrana and Radhika Apte.

3 : You are fascinated by cat and mouse type thrillers or hostage dramas that has all the ‘masala’ Bollywood is known for.

The Story of HOSTAGES

The Indian version of the captivating Israeli TV series is written by Akriti Goel, Madhura Dalimbkar, Mayuk Ghosh, Nisarg Mehta, Shiva Bajpai and Suraj Gianani. It’s the story of a well known surgeon Mira Anand (Tisca Chopra), who mysteriously is trapped in a situation where she has to choose between morality and emotion. A night before the surgery of her most high profile patient – the Chief Minister played by Dalip Tahil, Dr. Anand’s house is invaded by four masked people with guns. The kidnappers have taken the family of Dr. Anand as hostage – husband Sanjay (Parveen Dabas), 18-year old daughter, Shaina ((Malhar Rathod) and son, Shovan ((Sharad Joshi). Dr. Anand has to ensure that the Chief Minister dies during the operation in the morning and her family will be safe. On the other hand a senior police officer Prithvi Singh (Ronit Bose Roy) on his last day of duty has an important task to fulfill.


Script Analysis
The writers have stayed true to the original and in their zest to maintain their earnestness; they have not even changed the name of the pet dog and needless to add there is not much variations/deviations either from the original. The establishment of its lead characters – Dr. Anand, Prithvi Singh is perfect and sets the tempo.

The episodes are fast paced and tight and do have an air of unpredictability but later on it starts demanding a good degree of suspension of your disbelieve as the characters start indulging in surreal and strange activities. Picture this – the young Shovan gets access to his mobile phone in his room which we assume went unnoticed by this motley group of kidnappers – Hyma (Anangsha Biswas), Prince (Surya), and Aman (Aashim Gulati). And what Shovan does, he starts texting his girlfriend?. Is he enjoying the moment of being trapped by masked people holding guns.

He even says at one time that why don’t we take pictures and post it on our social media platforms..?. and these kidnappers, what motivated them apart from money and why are they so involved with their inner demons and not united as a team. The two of them Hyma and Prince are raw and edgy but their passion is unnecessarily repeated that dilutes the impact.

It’s the performance that stays true right from the first frame and covers up most of the flaws in writing. Ronit Bose Roy leads this cat and mouse chase with subtle intensity and his individual grace making the audience root for his character. Tisca Chopra adds the required vulnerability and dilemma to the drama. Veteran Dalip Tahil is fine. Sanjay (Parveen Dabas) as the husband who is hiding something dangerous is effective. Malhar Rathod as Shaina, Sharad Joshi as Shovan fit the bill. Anangsha Biswas impresses as Hyma, Surya has some raw moments and Aashim Gulati leaves his mark.

Direction of Sudhir Mishra
The man needs no introduction, the award winning helmer who made an impact with HAZAARON KHWAISHEIN AISI, DHARAVI, etc gets into thriller mode and doesn,t disappoint at least if not creates a stunning impact.

The veteran story teller has made an impression in the thriller genre with RAAT KI SUBAH NAHIN and the aura of unexpected twist, the undercurrent of Murphy Law and the complexities of human nature do find a place in this Indian adaptation of the Israeli original that in a way follows the Korean cinema’s format of sin, guilt and redemption.

However Mishra’s expertise in making a relevant social comment in a fictional story that smartly can draw parallel lines with something in real is missing as some situations are highly unbelievable. He narrative loses its grip in the middle portions threatening a premature death but Sudhir Mishra with a solid establishment during the initial episodes and the rare unexpected humanitarian conclusion in a thriller genre makes it an intriguing watch.

Final words
Hotstar Specials HOSTAGES is an intriguing cat and mouse game with some fine performances, if you let go the flaws which at couple of places are glaring and buy into the basic premise which is undoubtedly entertaining and captivating, then HOSTAGES promises some interesting switchbacks on characters and human nature.