There is a scene in the pre-climax of Sunflower where two cops whisper into each other’s ears about the possible murderers. Both Ranvir Shorey and his junior Girish Kulkarni seem to have cracked the case. They both believe that they have the suspect nailed. They both are frustrated that they couldn’t see it coming earlier on itself. They both use the choicest of expletives as they explain the logic behind their discovery. But then why do they whisper? Because Ranvir Shorey’s child is sleeping in the police station itself and they don’t want to wake him up.
This is the scene where you give a nod of approval towards the genius of Vikas Behl who has his own narrative style, as seen in his biggest hit till date, Super 30, as well as his biggest flop, Shaandaar. Sometimes he gets it right, sometimes he gets it wrong. However, he tries to make something different each time around, as evident in Queen as well as Chillar Party. In case of Sunflower, thankfully he gets it right. No wonder, when he along with his co-director Rahul Sengupta set the stage for what happens inside sunflower apartments, you are intrigued.
The best part about this ZEE5 offering is that the stage is set within the first 10 minutes itself. (No spoilers ahead) You know the victim [Ashwin Kaushal], you know the murderer [Mukul Chadda], you know what caused the murder and you also get introduced to the man [Sunil Grover] towards whom the needle of suspicion gets firmly placed. Call it a series of bizarre coincidences but the manner in which drama oscillates between Mukul and Sunil, you wonder if fact is indeed stranger than fiction.
No wonder, you are excited about the proceedings as long as these are the men under focus. Add to that the two cops [Ranvir and Girish] and the game is truly set. Both these cops pretty much complement each other as while Ranvir is cold and calculated, Girish is flamboyant and impulsive. If Ranvir is a family man who takes care of his child then Girish is a womanizer. If there is some way that one can make Ranvir an emotional fool then Girish is someone who is alert and agile, despite not quite showing it at the surface. Very good characterization here.
This is the reason why one wonders if it was really the need of the show to have close to have half a dozen characters who don’t quite add much to the plot. There is Ashish Vidyarthi as the RWA chief who is forever growling about now allowing ‘foreign culture’ to invade sunflower apartments. However beyond that there isn’t much added to the story. Then there are these father-daughter bosses of the cosmetic company that Sunil works in and they come and go at will. There are two young women also in the apartments and again, not much there.
As a result, whenever the narrative shifts towards these characters, the story tends to slip. You hunt for dark comedy elements as well as thrills surrounding the murder mystery, and that returns only when Sunil, Mukul, Ranvir and Girish come back into the picture. Also, it is interesting to see flashback sequences featuring Ashwin and what really led to his murder. Had Sunflower stayed with these five men, and the other peripheral characters been just touched upon at the surface, the web series would have been much crisper and even more entertaining.
Nonetheless, what catches your attention is the manner in which Sunil goes on to portray his part of a 35 something man who is loyal to his company, has OCD, had a girlfriend once upon a time, wants to get into a relationship now, doesn’t mind helping absolute strangers, time and again finds himself in troubles that lead to him getting into ‘no clothes situation’ and very importantly, may or may not be the kind of psychologically disturbed guy who could as well as commit a murder.
Was he a part of it or not? Well, for that one has wait for the second season to arrive since the last shot of the final episode of the first season ends on a cliffhanger mode. It is interesting, yes, but had the culmination been more conclusive, it would have only made the whole experience all the more satiating. For now, it lends a sense of wait and watch.