Eros Now’s ‘A Viral Wedding’ was the first show to have been shot during the lockdown period. It was a sweet, little experimental show that showed that it is possible to create a full-fledged series despite the lockdown restrictions. Now, Voot Select’s takes the whole experiment one notch higher by launching ‘The Gone Game’, a show that is far more ambitious when it comes to its storytelling approach and has a much bigger scale.
Owing to the Covid-19 scare, a lockdown has been imposed across the country and the members of the Gujral family, who are based in different cities across the country, are left with the option of interacting with each other through video calls. Sahil Gujral (Arjun Mathur) has just returned from a trip to Bangkok and has the kind of symptoms which indicate towards him infected with corona virus. He has locked himself up in the bedroom of the apartment he shares with his wife Suhani (Shriya Pilgaonkar) to self-quarantine. While his family members tell him he is being paranoid, Sahil wants to take all the necessary precautions. Sahil’s condition worsens and he is admitted to a hospital. Soon, the news comes that Sahil has passed away. Shortly after this, the family stumbles upon a few clues which point towards Sahil still being alive.
Spread across four episodes, each having a duration of 25-27 minutes, the makers keep the narrative crisp and pack in a large amount of (relevant) information in these two hours. The first episode opens with the shot of a television set playing a news channel wherein we get to know how the virus has created a furore across the world. Sahil’s paranoia, the ‘famcalls’, information being exchanged through WhatsApp messages and a mysterious ‘shadow’ passing through – all these events which unfold over a span of twenty-seven minutes set the tone for the show. What follows next is a roller-coaster ride wherein you keep guessing as to what happened to Sahil? Has he been kidnapped or somebody has murdered him?
The biggest victory of the show is the fact that despite being shot under restrictive conditions, it comes across as a technically superior product. Most of the conversations happen through video calls and given the situation everybody is going through, it feels very natural. The screenplay (Mautik Tolia, Nikhil Nagesh Bhat, Ayesha Syed and Radhika Anand) packs in a large amount of information and the various layers in the narrative come off very organically during the course of the four episodes. There are times when things get a little predictable but the suspense remains alive till the time the narrative allows it to be.
Though he gets limited screen time, Arjun Mathur leaves a lasting impression as the man who is going through his share of troubles and one around whose disappearance the show revolves around. Shweta Tripathi Sharma makes the maximum impact as the inquisitive and sharp Amara here. She gets ample scope to perform and delivers a very confident act. Indraneil Sengupta does not has many scenes in the first three episodes but he gets some good scenes to shine in the penultimate episode. Sanjay Kapoor delivers a very competent performance and so does Rukshar Rehman. Dibyendu Bhattacharya delivers a sufficiently menacing performance as Subhash Choudhary.
‘The Gone Game’ succeeds not just as an experimental show but also as a well-written and executed thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat.