Kathmandu Connection tries hard but falls short of being entertaining. The SonyLiv show fails to strike that perfect balance that makes the show special, particularly when the story starts to look like a mix of Manoj Bajpayee’s The Family Man and Kay Kay Menon’s Special Ops. The comparisons are unfair, but inevitable.
An overzealous police officer Samarth Kaushik, played by Amit Sial, along with his associate Mishra (Anuraag Arora) is out to nab the gangsters responsible for a hotelier’s kidnapping. In another part of the country, a CBI officer Ritesh Agarwal (Gopal Dutt) is investigating the murder of a colleague. Also, a primetime news anchor, Shivani Bhatnagar is being stalked and getting blank calls. The web series blends all three events as we are told that there is a common connection in a casino in Kathmandu, which is run by Sunny, who is the aide of Dawood Ibrahim’s henchman and politician Mirza Baig. But the time writer Siddharth Mishra takes to place all the characters and connections together gets tedious.
A shorter introduction to the lead characters and their family life might have helped maintain intrigue. Instead, it consumes three-and-a-half episodes in a six-episode series, leaving the show grasping for life. However, when it does get to point, it soon digresses into attention-grabbing. The unexpected turns in the narrative change not only changes the pace, but also the genre of the web series — from a spy thriller to a revenge thriller.
Amit Sial, with his grounded performance, anchors this unsteady show. His character looks like an amalgamation of Kay Kay Menon’s Himmat Singh, a RAW agent in Disney Plus Hotstar’s Special Ops, whose only motive was to nab the mastermind of the terror attack on the Indian Parliament, and Manoj Bajpayee’s Srikant Tiwary, who was an underpaid and overworked government agent with no life and work balance, in The Family Man on Amazon Prime. Sial’s Samarth Kaushik is after antagonist Sunny and is ready to go to any length to get hold of him, even if that means being suspended. He chooses his professional responsibilities over his family duties, leaving him distant from his wife and daughter.
Besides Sial, actors Anuraag Arora, Gopal Dutt and Aksha Pardasany did a good job too. The background score by Sneha Khanwalkar helps a great deal in building the narrative of the concluding two episodes. Also, kudos to director Sachin Pathak for paying attention to detail when it comes to getting the setting right, for example, the absence of mobile phones in the early 1990s, the costumes of the news anchor Shivani and the cars in which the principal characters travel.
Shorter episodes and a little more thought into making this spy-cum-revenge thriller different from the already existing great shows like Special Ops and The Family Man would have made Kathmandu Connection a sure shot winner for SonyLIV. For now, it is watchable, just that it takes a while to get there.