Reviews of the “Charlie Chopra and The Mystery of Solang Valley” series a straightforward whodunit

Charlie Chopra and The Mystery of Solang Valley :-

Instead of adapting Agatha Christie’s works for a domestic female detective series, Vishal Bhardwaj and Wamiqa Gabbi have “Fleabag” on their minds.

Charlie Chopra and The Mystery of Solang Valley
Charlie Chopra and The Mystery of Solang Valley

In his debut Agatha Christie adaptation, filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj chose The Sittaford Mystery, a chilling, snowbound tale from 1931, instead of using the traditional suspects and investigators. The witty and likeable Miss Emily Trefusis, the book’s unique protagonist, provided Bhardwaj and main actress Wamiqa Gabbi with a golden chance. They could take the character anywhere they wanted since they weren’t constrained by the cultural ubiquity of a Poirot or a Miss Marple. They could even make her a foul-mouthed Punjabi girl in a beanie who regularly addressed the screen. However, Charlie Chopra & The Mystery of Solang Valley encounters a hurdle as a result of this necessity for quirky innovation.

Before we meet Charlie, we’re introduced to some of her suspects. On a stormy evening evocatively shot by cinematographer Tassaduq Hussain, several people huddle inside a cottage, watching a séance. A spirit named ‘Lady Rose’ is apparently summoned; she, in turn, indicates the death of one Brigadier Rawat (Gulshan Grover). Though the guests seem to brush it off, one twitchy character decides to trudge down to Manali — several kilometers away — and check on his old friend. His instincts prove right: the moneyed brigadier is found slain in his home. The cops hastily arrest Jimmy, the ex-armyman’s nephew who had visited him earlier in the day, the improbability of Vivaan Shah playing a cold-blooded murderer clearly lost on the Manali force. (Charlie Chopra and The Mystery of Solang Valley)

Jimmy’s fiancée Charulata, or Charlie, is particularly certain of his innocence. She is an amateur detective (in a charming detail, her mother, the formidable Dolly Chopra of Patiala, was the professional). As soon as Charlie gets to Manali, he discovers a network of secrets, deception, and financial issues. It turned out that mustachioed Rawat was leaving behind a sizable estate, and everyone wanted a piece of it, even his closest relatives. The new Poirot films by Kenneth Branagh have reignited interest in the all-star Christie adaptation. The whole Shah family—Vivaan, Naseer, Ratna Pathak, Imaad, and Heeba—as well as Lara Dutta as one of Rawat’s shady tenants and Priyanshu Painyuli as a street-smart reporter who links up with them—make up Bhardwaj’s alternative, slightly arthouse approach to this trend.

Charlie Chopra and The Mystery of Solang Valley (Hindi)

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj

Cast: Wamiqa Gabbi, Priyanshu Painyuli, Gulshan Grover, Vivaan Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, Naseeruddin Shah, Lara Dutta

Episodes: 6

Run-time: 34 to 49 minutes

Storyline: Charlie, an amateur sleuth, is determined to prove the innocence of her fiancé, arrested for avunculicide

One of the most intriguing performers now working in Hindi film is Wamiqa Gabbi. She has charisma, humor, and a unique beauty that is not typical in Bollywood. She was stunning in Jubilee, portraying an actress from the 1940s and 1950s, but she was also endearingly remembered in Modern Love: Mumbai’s Vishal Bhardwaj scene. While Charlie may not be the most interesting protagonist on paper, Gabbi peeps and probes with style and self-possession. The actor and director have developed an exciting creative connection; Khufiya will premiere next week. However, there is one fatal flaw. (Charlie Chopra and The Mystery of Solang Valley)

Charlie occasionally fixes her hazel-brown eyes on the camera and addresses the viewer directly. It is an obvious imitation of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag’s two seasons of fourth-wall-breaking inspiration. Here, it’s not as creative since Charlie’s comments are neither scathing nor illuminating in a unique, elevating way. They function as an exclamation point on occasion — “What even…?!” Gabbi blinks repeatedly — but are primarily perceived as a gimmick. Additionally, what’s the point of entering a detective’s brain when the pleasure is in remaining on the outside, watching them work, and attempting to figure out what they do?

Charlie Chopra and The Mystery of Solang Valley
Charlie Chopra and The Mystery of Solang Valley

Through a succession of revelations and red herrings, Bhardwaj and his co-writers build tension. Episodes switch between characters, but once we get it, the process of elimination eliminates all but a few potential culprits. It is a simple, conventional approach to creating a whodunit. However, Bhardwaj finds intriguing ways to Indianize the material, much like in his Shakespearean movies. In her first scene, Charlie bravely searches for the groom’s lost shoes at a loud Punjabi wedding (note the theme of implicated footwear). Through knowledge of the 1966 thriller Teesri Manzil, a subplot is resolved. A death by tabla follows a joke about Hindustani classical music in another place, which is funny and inevitable. (Charlie Chopra and The Mystery of Solang Valley)

Charlie’s motto is “Case jinna mushkil, fees unni katt,” which is said with a self-assured head wobble. There aren’t many memorable female investigators in Hindi movies and television programs. Over the years, Vidya Balan has had a few roles, most recently in Neeyat, but none of them have resulted in or earned a franchise. Bhardwaj and Gabbi have a chance to alter the game if more seasons are produced. Drop the Fleabag now. (Charlie Chopra and The Mystery of Solang Valley)

Charlie Chopra and The Mystery of Solang Valley is currently streaming on SonyLIV

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