Loser Review: Priyadarshi Starrer ZEE5 Original Is Built With Hope, Faith And Honesty

Abhilash Reddy's Loser, starring Priyadarshi, Shashank and Kalpika Ganesh, has taken Telugu OTT content to a whole new level. Read the review here

A still in Loser

Abhilash Reddy has previously directed two seasons of the ZEE5 show, Ekkadiki Ee Parugu. For the recently-released ZEE5 Original titled Loser, he has been backed by Annapurna Studios and Spectrum Media. The sports-drama, which revolves around three games, three timelines and three LOSERS, boasts of an impressive cast comprising Priyadarshi, Sayaji Shinde, Sathya Krishnan, Kalpika Ganesh, Komali Prasad, Annie and others.

Watch the trailer of Loser here:

The team of Loser has repeated one thing all through their promotional spree. This is a show where three losers come together to make one winner. And honestly, they have delivered exactly that. The ten-episode series spans over 30 minutes each, which could have been crisper. However, it allows the performers to take a few extra seconds and deliver their best. With a stellar cast like this, the only thing we expect and get is brilliance.

Loser is a non-linear show in three timelines – First, in 2007. A poor, ambitious and talented Suri struggles to fix his place in the national team of 10-meter Air Rifle shooting. It’s a game people call “rich man’s sport”, but Suri has been taught against believing it. Second, in 1993. Ruby Shabana comes from an orthodox Muslim family in the old city of Hyderabad. Her father waits for a moment to return to Pakistan, but Ruby discreetly aims to play badminton for India.

Shashank and Priyadarshi in Loser
Shashank and Priyadarshi in Loser

Third, in 1980. Wilson is a talented spinner playing for Ranji. He knows he deserves a place in the national team, too. There are villains but none bigger than his temperament. The editor of Loser careful interlaces the three timelines together. Suri and Shabana’s stories are woven more effortlessly, while Wilson’s story is a constant reminder of the change. This is probably because of the black-and-white colour treatment of Wilson’s segment, which could have been avoided.

The director does not while away our time or his in establishing the characters over a period of time. Within the first 10 minutes, we learn all that we need to know about Suri. Soon, in the first episode itself, we are familiar with Wilson and Ruby Shabana, too. At this point, we know that the resolution will come nine episodes later. That did disappoint a little, yet nowhere did we leave the show or its characters.

A Still from Loser Trailer
A still from Loser

Although, for the initial few episodes we are only looking at three characters who have a common aim. A little later, we learn that they also have a common connection. The people in Loser are the ones that we have often seen or heard of such as the abusive husband, the voluptuary, the strict father, the caring but hapless mother, and even kind family-like neighbours. This makes the show all the more relatable.

The story is much like a Ruskin Bond short story. Its beginning isn’t exactly a beginning and its end isn’t exactly the end. Yet, the story is whole and wholesome. Writers Sai Bharadwaj and Shravan Madala along with the director have penned some of the most compelling scenes and dialogues, seen in Telugu OTT space. They won’t make you laugh your wits out or make you weep uncontrollably. But it strikes just the right chord.

A still in Loser
A still in Loser

The show pans over several locations, which work for the story. None of them are too “filmy”. There is a cricket ground that we’ve all entered in, and a hospital we have all been in. Production Designer Manisha Dutt has really shed away all layers of pretence in the setting, as the actors have in their personalities. Even the clothes that the actors wear or the way their hair is styled, everything is utterly natural.

This team of young creators have packed in too many things in one go. The characters are all flawed but act like Yins and Yangs to each other, which is probably the director’s vision of how three losers make one winner. There aren’t any many plot twists in this show, but that’s one thing you never feel the need for. Because with each struggle (and there are plentiful) you learn a new thing – about their journey or the character.

A still in Loser
A still in Loser

Despite trying to avoid all that we can, we end up setting a bar for right and wrong. The team of Loser has  crafted this show in such a way that no one’s virtues triumph their vices. Asking for a sequel of this show would be an injustice to Suri, Wilson and Ruby. In the end, we don’t know where they are. But we know that there’s one less burden off their shoulders. And that’s a good place for us to close our screen and connect with the characters.

Loser is streaming on ZEE5 and you mustn’t miss out on this chance to be proud of good content.

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