Gangistan review: Pratik Gandhi tries his best to elevate Spotify’s pointless crime podcast
A never-ending chore despite relatively short episodes ranging from 12 to 20 minutes, Spotify’s Gangistan is a pointless crime drama let down by basic writing and sloppy production. Starring Pratik Gandhi, Saiyami Kher and Dayashankar Pandey, Gangistan is a number tale of the Mumbai underworld, as if it had been written by discount Hussain Zaidi.
The Escape From The Scam In 1992 Gandhi delivers the only naturalistic performance in the series as a journalist in search of the past. Gangistan, otherwise, feels too awkwardly written to feel authentic. A good podcast can make you smell the earth and feel the heat of the sun; a bad one can put you to sleep even after three cups of coffee. Listening to Gangistan is essentially like having a particularly large lunch. As you scratch the last few tracks, you lose interest in addition to your appetite.
In Gangistan, a dating cop is presented as a heroic figure, the bad guys all speak in ‘tapori’ language, and the reporter at the center of the plot talks about ethics, but does not speak to more than two people. for his great story on the origins of the Mumbai gang warfare. One of his sources is a former gangster who claims to have an epic story to tell and is convinced that he is a “ghost” looking for “mukti”. His name is Pappu and likes to hide in the forts of Mumbai because he feels safe there.
Pappu thinks he’s a “film writer,” and maybe that’s how he tells his story to Ashu Patel, the journalist played by Gandhi. He wants it to be “non-linear,” he says – impressive, for an ordinary henchman – but cannot for life remind him of the name of the big hotel by the bandstand. To be clear, he is believed to have witnessed the Bombay riots in 1992.
Ashu sits down with Pappu for several storytelling sessions, where the former gangster tells the stories of individuals called Bashir, Haidar, Taiyyab, Hamid, and Malik, and frequently breaks the fourth wall to acknowledge that people are listening to him on a podcast. One wonders why they didn’t use it as a framing device in the show itself; instead, Ashu records their conversations for his columns. Go figure it out.
There is a sloppy, heavy showmanship quality in the writing that even an actor of Gandhi’s caliber cannot polish. Saiyami Kher, meanwhile, spends more time presenting the episodes than actually participating in the story. In one scene, Ashu randomly calls him – an important cop – in the middle of the day to inquire about a decades-old murder. Not only does she remember it in great detail – she probably wasn’t even born then – but she interrupts her day and tells him everything. It would only take the slightest adjustment to make the exchange more believable, but Gangistan, written by Heer Khant, isn’t really bothered.
The production is simple to a fault; the mixture is limited to the clinking of glasses and the crackling of footsteps. The musical cues are too dark for the slightly playful tone Pappu adopts in his narration. With literally terabytes of alternatives available, only the most dedicated Gandhi fans could be able to endure 48 episodes of it.