‘Tabbar’ in Punjabi means family. For this thriller set in a small town, there couldn’t have been a more appropriate name. Created by Harman Wadala, who has also co-written the screenplay with Sandeep Jain and ‘Mr. Roy’, the series throws some light on the rampant drug abuse in Punjab but it’s largely about a family, comprising of good-natured folks, which gets entangled in a messy situation. As they try to find their way out of it, things get more complex.
Omkar (Pavan Malhotra), a retired police constable, runs a small grocery store in town and lives with his wife Sargun (Supriya Pathak) and younger son Teji (Sahil Mehta). Happy (Gagan Arora), his elder son, lives in Delhi and preparing to clear his IPS exams. When Happy comes home after scoring high in a mock test conducted by his coaching institute, the family organizes a small, intimate celebration. Just then, Maheep (Rachit Bahal), a young man who was Happy’s co-passenger in the train, comes home and informs the family that his bag was accidentally swapped by Happy’s. The bags are exchanged and the family resumes celebrating Happy’s little win. For some reason, Maheep comes back to the house. And this time, he has a gun in his hand.
Every episode of the show starts with a frame that has a quote of Baba Farid, a Sufi mystic from the 12th century, written. The quote sets the tone for the episodes that are filled with a lot of tension, thrills and a sense of melancholy. The first episode itself packs in a lot of thrills and gets you hooked to the narrative. Almost every episode gives you a deeper insight into each of the family members and gets you further interested in discovering the extent to which they will go to save themselves. The rest of the characters, too, are very well-written. A few of them, though, do come across as being a little under-developed. The romantic track between Happy and Palak (Nupur Nagpal) has not been etched out properly. Ajeet Sodhi, the character played by Ranveer Shorey, has its moments but could have had a more interesting arc.
As Omkar Singh, Pavan Malhotra gets one of the best roles of his career and does complete justice to it. Even when the character is doing something that is morally incorrect, you feel for him as you he is doing it to protect his family. Supriya Pathak Kapur brings out the anguish of a woman, who sees her family go through hell, effectively to the fore. Those who have seen Gagan Arora in web shows like ‘College Romance’ will be pleasantly surprised to see him essaying such a complex and intense character in this show. The actor puts his best foot forward and does exceptionally well. Sahil Mehta is terrific as Tegi. Ranveer Shorey is fantastic in each and every scene that he appears in but suffers because of an under-written character. Paramveer Singh Cheema leaves a mark as Lakhvinder Singh.
Apart from the performances, the highlight of the show is its writing. Harman Wadala, Sandeep Jain and ‘Mr. Roy’ has managed to weave in a story that is gripping and makes you empathize with a regular, middle-class family that suffers because of one mistake and unfavourable circumstances. There are a few loose ends though. The forensic laboratory sequence in episode 4, for instance, comes across as far-fetched. Having said that, the show seldom falters on the writing front. The scenes have been structured very well by director Ajitpal Singh. The rustic landscape of small-town Punjab has been captured very well by Arun Kumar Pandey. The background score (Sneha Khanwalkar) plays an important role in keeping the tension alive throughout the narrative. A couple of songs, too, like the ‘Kala Mera Vesh’ track in episode 5 leave an impact.
‘Tabbar’ is one of the best Indian shows to have arrived on the digital space in the recent times. Don’t miss it!
Tabbar is streaming on SonyLIV.