PI Meena web series: A lethargic detective drama with an annoying protagonist

PI Meena (Hindi)

  • Cast: Tanya Maniktala, Parambrata Chatterjee, Jisshu Sengupta, Vipin Sharma, Harsh Chhaya, and Vinay Pathak
  • Director: Debaloy Bhattacharya
  • Producer: Daniel Varghese
  • Music: Amit Chatterjee
  • No. of episodes: 8
  • OTT platform: Prime Video

For any detective/investigator story to work, two things are of primary importance, Firstly the audience should feel that the protagonist is having fun in solving the case. Secondly, the dangers that he/she faces should make the viewers anxious about what will happen next.

Earlier this year, Vishal Bhardwaj delivered a pulpy thriller titled Charlie Chopra & the Mystery of Solang Valley. It was a thoroughly enjoyable web show with an excellent Wamiqa Gabbi.

The setting of Solang Valley also became a major character itself, thanks to the cinematographer Tassaduq Hussain.

Unfortunately, PI Meena doesn’t even reach 5 percent of what the Vishal Bhardwaj directorial had achieved or even the Sujoy Ghosh directorial Jaane Jaan where the hill station Kalimpong was a significant part.

The protagonist in PI Meena comes across as too brooding with no sense of fun and the city of Kolkata fails to become a major character.

Synopsis

PI Meena web series Amazon Prime Video
‘PI Meena’ is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. (X)

As the title suggests, Tanya Maniktala plays a private investigator named Meena. She is haunted by a tragic past involving her brother Joy who is in a coma.

On many occasions, we see Meena pouring out her angst to him.

Though Meena works as a private investigator, the cases only involve unfaithful spouses and rotten fiancés!

Pritam Sen (Harsh Chhaya) is her boss. He has a swanky office and powerful connections as well with higher levels of power. However, this doesn’t make any sense given the kind of cases they get.

Parambrata’s Chatterjee’s Subho Roy is Meena’s partner in crime and also a romantic interest who is very concerned about her. Subho Roy also has aspirations of getting into politics, though his interest in politics isn’t exactly about serving the nation.

The story takes an unexpected turn when Meena witnesses a bike rider named Partho Dey (Sawon Chakrobarthy) being knocked down by a truck. Surprisingly it doesn’t occur to Meena that she should take a picture of the departing truck.

Anyway, she takes the wounded Partho to the hospital and also files a police complaint.

Partho’s mother (Zarina Wahab) believes that her son has been murdered and this isn’t a simple case of hit and run.

Meena decides to dig deeper into the case and the investigation takes her to Littnong where she meets Dr Andre Rakshaw (Jisshu Sengupta).

There is also the track of the virus outbreak running simultaneously. Revealing anything more wouldn’t be appropriate.

Parambrata and Jisshu Sengupta shine

Parambrata Chatterjee and Jisshu Sengupta are solid in their performances.

Parambrata’s charming act is a major relief, particularly in comparison to Tanya’s constant brooding.

Subho Roy isn’t a complete saint or a sinner and Parambrata does a good job in bringing out these nuances.

Not a lot can be revealed about the character that Jisshu Sengupta plays. But it is a role which has many secrets.

At one point, he advises Meena to seek something more when she is in a big web of confusion. Jisshu Sengupta is brilliant in keeping the audience guessing about his actual intentions.

Drawbacks

Tanya Maniktala as PI Meena
Tanya Maniktala as PI Meena. (X)

There is no denying the gravity of Meena’s past, but on many occasions, she comes across as an unreasonable schoolchild who is annoyed with everything and everyone.

At no point do the viewers feel that Meena is having fun in solving the case. The constant frown on her face irritates the viewers.

Projecting intensity is different from coming across as bad-tempered and this is where director Debloy Bhattarchya and Tanya falter big time.

Actors like Vinay Pathak and Zarina Wahab are hardly there. They have been utterly wasted.

Another big problem with the series is its depiction of Kolkata. The city never feels like a major character. As a result, the viewers feel that the plot could have been set anywhere and didn’t particularly need this place.

The loose editing also plays a major spoilsport. The episodes could have much crisper and eight episodes feel too long for this story.

After a decent beginning, the web series goes in many directions like the journalist girlfriend of Joy among other things. But these tracks only add to dragging down the proceedings.

Final take

To sum it up, PI Meena is a good cure for insomnia.

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