Cast: Akshay Oberoi, Ranvir Shorey, Shweta Basu Prasad, Mrinmayee Godbole
Director: Nikhil Rao
After a drug overdose, Shiv (Akshay Oberoi) unknowingly becomes guinea pig for a trio of doctors performing lab experiments on their subjects at a rehab-cum-research facility located in the outskirts of Mumbai. Turns out, Magic, as they later name their super compound, exhibits unparalleled healing properties and is a sure shot cure for addiction. Now begins the rather predictable cat-and-mouse chase between erring samaritans, already functioning drug lords who are bummed with this new competition in the market and other parties with vested interests.
Set against the backdrop of rampant drugs abuse amid youth, High dabbles with familiar themes of morality, power and its corrupting influence, criminal enterprise and so on. What sets it apart though is how it connects the various storylines and characters that are teased initially. Ashima (Mrinmayee Godbole), a journalist, described as ‘poster girl of fake news’, is now looking to move towards sincere reporting and finds her big story in locating the source of Magic. As a consequence, her life ties up with the mafia, which is the main track in the series.
Laakda (Ranvir Shorey) is another interesting personality that is thrown in the mix. He is a henchman, who invariably fires more gunshots in public than he speaks to people. Laakda is monosyllabic, and in Ranvir, the character finds a decent delivery. His blind killing sprees, which are one too many, may force you to look away from the screen every now and then.
Coming back to Shiv, who plays an addict turned messiah, he is one of the most relatable characters in the series. Akshay lends a certain sincerity to the part and his performance stands out from the lot of template characters. While the storyline keeps slipping into the familiar zone, Shiv’s various facets keep the interest alive.
High is technically sound. Nikhil Rao’s direction does not stand out but there are certain scenes where he manages to churn out real emotions through his characters, and in turn leaves an impact on viewers. He presents us Mumbai city as high in contrast and low in empathy for fellow beings. Gore and bloodbath is handled decently and do not leave a bad aftertaste.
MX Player series plays by the rule book of a crime drama and rarely ventures into the unexplored. In that, it gives us average entertainment dose but falls flat when it comes to originality and novelty. Watch it for its poignant portrayal of human emotions.