Based on the Israeli TV show of the same name, Hostages is Hotstar Specials’ latest offering. I have not seen the original show, so, there was nothing to compare it to. It starts off with SP Prithvi Singh, played by Ronit Roy tactfully arresting a suspected terrorist. On the other side is Dr Mira Anand, played by Tisca Chopra, a surgeon who is going to perform a surgery on Chief Minister of the state Khushwant Lal Handa (Dalip Tahil). Mira’s husband Sanjay Anand (Parvin Dabas) is in a huge debt, her 18-year-old daughter Shaina is pregnant, and her teenage son Shovan leaks school exam papers. As we would later find out, Prithvi and Mira’s lives are going to cross paths and a series of unpredictable events will take place.
Thriller as a genre is an explored territory for Sudhir Mishra. He made a stunning Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin way back in 1996 and the twisted Yeh Saali Zindagi in 2011. He also helmed the highly-acclaimed political drama Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2005). However, in Hostages, certain portions have not come out well. The narrative lacks consistency that a thriller must have. The camera unnecessarily moves, trying to create an impact. But that is irrelevant to the narrative.
Watch the trailer of Hostages here:
Tisca Chopra and Ronit Roy do their routine best but others give forgettable performances. The best thing about Hostages is its core drama. It has enough twists and absurdity to keep the viewers engaged but the narrative gets sloppy sometimes. Thriller is my favourite genre. It takes immense skill to craft a solid script and put together performances and technicalities to make it compact and an edge-of-the-seat thriller.
Having watched many films from across the world and being a learner of screenwriting, I tend to decode the script and narrative while I’m watching a film or a show. There came a moment in Hostages where a man in darkness is instructing one of the kidnappers on what to do next. If you have watched the show with a keen eye then you could easily figure out who that man is. The man eventually turned to be the exact one I had guessed but thankfully (for the thriller) there was more to him and the thread did not end there. The show has many moments of awe and shock but those are placed between some avoidable drama. The season ends on a superb turn of events though.
Since its inception, Hotstar was mostly featuring sports, some movies, shows from the Star network. But in recent times, they have upped their ante. They have added some really good movies, documentaries, TV shows and Hotstar Specials. Hostages is their fourth offering after Criminal Justice, City of Dreams and Roar of The Lion. We live in the paradox of internet and the digital world. Where there are talks of people’s attention spans shrinking and as we debate about it there are people glued to their laptops and mobile phones binge-watching content of up to ten hours. At ten episodes of approximately half an hour each, Hostages is a decent thriller. Is it worth your time? Well, the core shocking drama of it should keep you engaged.