Tanya Maniktala stars as a private investigator in this series about a mysterious virus outbreak
Kolkata November 11 dmanewsdesk: ‘When the forest burns, sparks fly,’ says Jisshu Sengupta’s Dr Andrew Rakhaw in Amazon Prime Video’s latest series PI Meena, created by Arindam Mitra and directed by Debaloy Bhattacharya, starring A Suitable Boy actress Tanya Maniktala. But why is the so-called forest burning? Where are the sparks even flying? These are the questions that you will grapple with after watching the eight-episode Prime Video series.
Given that there has been a spate of shows and films based on Covid-19 in the past couple of years (the latest being Vivek Agnihotri’s film The Vaccine War), you’d expect yet another medical thriller on this issue to at least present a fresh take. But the storyline of PI Meena is saddled with glaring plot holes, unnecessary subplots, loose ends and poorly-written characters.
The plot revolves around private investigator Meenakshi Iyer (Tanya Maniktala), who has a troubled past and is navigating her life and career in Kolkata. Meena is tired of working on cases that do not bring her any appreciation. Along with comes the disrespect of police officers who don’t consider private investigators as real detectives.
After witnessing a hit-and-run incident of a virologist, Partho, on one of her jogging sessions, Meena is drawn into a web of conspiracies after Partho’s mother (played by Zarina Wahab) insists that her son’s accident is, in fact, a murder — a carefully plotted killing that is linked to a mysterious virus outbreak which started in a small hill station in Bagdogra, named Littnong.
When a video showing people dying from a mysterious viral fever goes up on a news channel, several political parties, along with intelligence officers, try to take it down. However, the video reaches Meena, and not being able to contain her thirst to know what’s going on, she sets out on a solo quest to get to the bottom of the case.
Also starring Parambrata Chattopadhyay as Meena’s colleague, Shubho, who goes by the username of ‘fraud lawyer’ on the darknet, the series tries hard to make us believe that his plotline is related to the story. Shubho is trying to win a ticket to next year’s elections. Several scenes of him confronting ministers are shown alongside him harbouring feelings for Meena. But the question is — how is it connected to the virus outbreak or Partho’s murder?
Jisshu Sengupta plays a doctor, Andrew Rakhaw, who works at a hospital in Littnong whom Partho was going to meet before he died. With his brooding eyes and witty lines, Jisshu makes for a mysterious presence and makes it worth sticking around till the end. Meena lands up in Littnong and her investigation takes an exciting turn after his introduction.
Meena’s drive to investigate stems from a sense of righteousness and emotional vulnerability, but her traumatic past doesn’t impact her present more than this. As a newbie investigator, Meena comes across as inexperienced and reckless but determined to fight for what she thinks is right. And Tanya Maniktala goes to great lengths to bring that sense of will power and tenacity to the role. But with the abrupt ending, her story feels half-baked and unfinished.
Where the web series scores is in its nuanced portrayal of the urban life of Kolkata next to a quaint mountain town. Travelling in yellow taxis, drinking bharer cha at roadside tea stalls and escapades in and around the city are contrasted with picturesque views of Littnong’s lush mountains and foggy atmosphere.
Another plus is the opening song by Rohit Kulkarni and Sandipa Dutta. With its fast-paced violin sounds accompanied by a cold rap version of the Bengali folk song Amay Bhashaili Re, you will find yourself unable to skip it.
Source: The Tele graphonline .com