Film: ‘The Whistleblower’ (Streaming on Sony Liv); Duration: 45 minutes each episode

Director: Manoj Pillai

Cast: Akshay Baghek, Ritwik Bhowmik, Shachi Pathak, Ankit Shirbhavikar, Ankita Sharma, Vijay Pohare, Shiv Kanungo, Ravi Kishan, Sachin Khedekar, Joy Sengupta

IANS Rating: ***

Director Manoj Pillai’s ‘The Whistleblower’ is a smouldering crime drama that unravels the ugly reality of competitive exams specifically in the medical field. It is a fictional offering inspired by a series of true events across India and thus does have a bit of a second-hand and overfamiliar feel to it.

Set in Bhopal, the series traces the systematic “murder of merit” in a corrupt society through the journey of a final-year medical student Dr Sanket. He is the only son of a renowned doctor Ashwin Badoria (Sachin Khedekar), the founder and owner of Reliable Medical Hospital, a private teaching institute. How Sanket gets sucked into the nefarious web of corruption, the repercussions it has on his personal life, and how he struggles to break free forms the crux of the narrative.

The plot skims through the examination processes of the medical field and the police department but focuses mostly on the activities of the kingpins of the corrupt racket and then on how they are exposed. The turning point does come in at a crucial moment when Sanket realises his mistake.

The lines in the series are not out of the ordinary. But there is one sentence narrated through a voice-over that lingers in your mind. It is, “Those who are right can go to any lengths to be in the right, and those who are wrong will go to any lengths to prove themselves right, but this world can only change by those who want to bring about the change,” which inadvertently is a whistleblower’s job.

What keeps you glued to this ten-episode series is the compelling insight it offers to the dark underworld of its universe and the performances of its dazzling cast determined to expose it.

Ritwik Bhowmik as Sanket Badoria delivers a robust performance as the ever experimental, mildly debauch, and unscrupulous youth. He is aptly supported by Ankita Sharma, as the straightforward and righteous Dr Pragya Singh, his love interest. Ridhdhi Khakhar as Pragya’s younger spoilt and lazy sister Prachi is equally convincing.

Akshay Baghel and Shachi Pathak, as Sanket and Pragya’s colleagues Dinesh and Shilpa, are natural in their demeanour.

Ashish Verma as the broadcast journalist Anoop, Ravi Kishan as one of the central figures in the corrupt circle, and Zakir Hussain as a politician are common-place and hackneyed.

With moderate production values, the series, on the whole, is efficiently shot by cinematographer Stanley Mudda, and the visuals, along with the soundtrack, are astutely layered by editor Dev Rao Jadhav.

Overall, ‘The Whistleblower’ effectively exposes the deep-rooted corruption plaguing our society.

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