Inside Edge is an Amazon Original made for their most exciting market – India. Produced by Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar’s powerful production house, Excel Entertainment, this series has everything going for it. India, the cricket crazed country has the world’s richest T20 league, the Indian Premier League (IPL). The IPL has the perfect mix of cricket, glitz and glamour which has enthralled the world in general and India in particular and this is exactly the sweet spot ‘Inside Edge’ hits.
My personal rating for this entire Season 1 (10 episodes) is 3 stars out of 5. Yes, it is an average rating, still this series has a lot going for it (got 3 stars after all!) but there was a lot it could have been (now you know where it lost the other 2 stars!).
About the Tournament
I have already stated that we are one cricket crazy nation (yes, I am one of the fanatics) and so the plot was perfect for a maiden series. I loved the title because in cricket an Inside edge is a double edged sword. It saves you in case there is an LBW appeal against you but can also be your downfall if instead of the pad, the ball crashes in to the stumps. Sometimes the inside edge can bring you lucky runs and sometimes when the luck is against you, get you out too! The association of this phenomenon with that of the rampant spot fixing in cricket in general and T20 leagues in particular is indeed well done.
The Playing XI
It does have a good star cast with proven actors like Richa Chadha, Vivek Oberoi and Sanjay Suri among the old names. New and upcoming actors like Angad Bedi, Tanuj Virwani, Sara Jane Dias etc add to the freshness to the cast. Must say that the casting director has done a very good job.
All the actors have put in a good and convincing performance especially Richa (forget her wardrobe, it was horrible! and that is being polite). There will be comparisons of her character with that of Preity Zinta in real life but if you see the series you will realise that the makers have ensured there isn’t much common there.
Vivek Oberoi’s character also seems to be modeled on Vijay Mallya as he is called Vikrant and the V is displayed most of the time in the background shots. Again, if you watch the series, there is nothing Mallya like in Vikrant’s character. He is a typical one dimensional Bollywood bad guy. Wish his role had more layers than that. Even with this limitation Vivek manages to give glimpses of why he had almost ruled Bollywood at a point in time only to be relegated to being a “bad boy” these days (calling out the ‘bad boy’ in real life just does not pay in the long run..does it?).
Angad Bedi looks a very convincing captain and good guy, so does Sanjay Suri as Mr Coach and ex-player who has dabbled with spot fixing in his playing days. For me Tanuj Virwani stole the show. He was brilliant playing the role of Vayu, the talented star who gives a damn hang about anyone on the outside. However he is still compassionate about people close to him especially his sister, ex-girlfriend and the budding fast bowler. Tanuj carries of this role so well that you actually start rooting for him towards the end (Trivia: He is the son of yesteryear’s leading lady Rati Agnihotri)
The first episode of the series had started well but then it slipped into too many cliches. While I don’t say that cricket is a ‘pure’ game, I find it a little difficult to believe that someone can snort cocaine and then go ahead and play a full game. The bit about casteism seemed force fitted too.
A lot has been written about spot fixing in cricket, the focus here is on the play the owner of ‘Mumbai Mavericks’ makes to earn more money. If this is so rampant then I wonder why the makers have concentrated on only one team? What if the other team’s owner was also playing his own fixing game? My guess is that this would have complicated this series a lot more for the makers to manage. I still feel that this gives a wrong impression that only one team in the entire tournament is compromised, which is never true.
Seems like the makers took everything that is rotten in the game, put it in a box and magnified (read as fictionalised) it. I wish some attention had been paid to the ground realities of the game too rather than making it so overtly dramatized. However, the scenes where cricket is played are quite authentically shot
The build up towards the final episode of the season is good but what brings it down is its eventual predictability! The climax particularly felt hurried and weak
So all in all there isn’t anything memorable about this series but it is surely a step in the right direction as far as original Indian content is concerned and a welcome break from all the ‘saas-bahu’ and socially regressive dramas playing on national TV. The production of the series is good and up to international standard.
I sincerely hope that Season 2 will have much better strokes which are pleasing to the eyes rather than inside edges!
Trailer of the series