One dead body and two suspects. There's an obvious one who looks guilty from the word go, and then there's a mysterious one with hidden motives. Are these two involved in the murder? Or, are they just the usual suspects and there is more to it than meets the eye?
Sunflower, the latest ZEE5 web series created by Vikas Bahl, enthralls you from the very beginning. A suburban residential society faces chaos as a resident, Raj Kapoor, is murdered and the police begin their investigation.
Sales manager Sonu Singh (Sunil Grover) is the obvious suspect against whom the evidence piles up. Kapoor's neighbor Doctor Ahuja (Mukul Chadha) is also on the radar for his suspicious behavior. As Inspector Digendra (Ranveer Shorey) and Tambe (Girish Kulkarni) begin their investigation, matters get complicated with the entry of Kapoor's wife, played by Shonali Nagrani, on the scene.
The specialty of the best mystery thriller is that you can't see the twist coming from a mile away. They hide their secrets well, but at the same time, let you satisfy your crime-solving, clue-finding itch. If they make it too difficult, frustration ensues; Too easy and you get bored. Sunflower tries to walk this fine line, but it's not an easy journey.
In one of his interviews before the release of Sunflower, Sunil Grover said that he cannot put the web series in a particular genre, as it has "thriller, humor and dark comedy". While it doesn't fit all of these brackets, Sunflower's character development is its strength. Sonu Singh's character of Grover takes the cake. Vikas Bahl makes him a perfect blend of quirkiness and innocence. He's not your typical neighbor or co-worker. If one moment you doubt his intentions, the next moment you sympathize with him. It's a pleasure to see Grover in the role of a substance.
Mukul Chadha as a school teacher intrigues you. He reacts impulsively and is angry. He overpowers his wife and blames her for risking her life because she did not observe the Karva Chauth fast. With him, things are not what they seem, and he is not what he seems. But the mystery created through him does not end, and you are left lacking.
Talking about the other characters, Ashish Vidyarthi plays the role of Dilip Iyer, the candidate for the presidency of Sunflower. Through them, the producers take a subtle dig at the prejudices that still permeate society – divorced women, single women, homosexuals, and stigma around religions. Then there is their daughter, Paan Iyer (Riya Nalawade) who gives insight into a young mind and the fears of a young man's life. The characters of Gurleen and Justina are also an example of how women are stereotyped in our society.
Kudos to Behl for giving us such edgy characters but interesting arc aside, most of the characters and their subsequent plot add nothing to the main plot, thus leaving the series with no real purpose. The eight-episode series captivated me from the start, but never delivered on its promise.
Sunflowers could have been a zany ride filled with some weird characters, but an exaggerated plot fails to keep us hooked. It had a ton of capacity which has gone away.