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Charlie Chopra & The Mystery of Solang Valley: A Review of Vishal Bharadwaj Web Series

Charlie Chopra & The Mystery of Solang Valley Review (Photo Credit: IMDb)
Charlie Chopra & The Mystery of Solang Valley Review (Photo Credit: IMDb)

Cast: Wamiqa Gabbi, Neena Gupta, Lara Dutta, Naseeruddin Shah, Rachna Pathak Shah, Priyanshu Painyuli, Gulshan Grover, and ensemble.

Creator: Vishal Bhardwaj.

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj

Streaming On: Sony LIV.

Language: Hindi (with subtitles).

Runtime: 6 Episodes Around 45 Minutes Each.

What's the Story?

The plot revolves around the mysterious death of a wealthy veteran Brigadier in his snow-covered mansion in Solang Valley. Everyone from his family to friends is under scrutiny to uncover the murderer. Charulata Chopra, also known as Charlie Chopra (played by Wamiqa), takes on the task of solving the case. Her journey becomes the cornerstone of Vishal Bhardwaj's venture into long-format storytelling.

A still from Charlie Chopra & The Mystery Of Solang Valley. (courtesy: sonylivindia)
An Image from Charlie Chopra & The Mystery Of Solang Valley. (courtesy: sonylivindia)

Script Analysis

In a world where complex narratives often reign supreme, Bhardwaj manages to keep things refreshingly simple. He adapts Agatha Christie's "The Sittaford Mystery" into a six-part series with a unique approach. Unlike stories that involve global stakes, Charlie Chopra's world is contained and isolated. It's a place where the outside world barely exists, making it feel like a dream that you never want to wake up from.

Bhardwaj excels at crafting characters with distinct voices and roles. The protagonist, Charlie, isn't a seasoned detective saving the world; instead, she's a self-made amateur. Her actions are relatable, and the character development takes surprising turns. Bhardwaj subtly weaves political themes into the narrative, addressing topics like refugees, oppression, and unfulfilled dreams without feeling forced.

While Wamiqa Gabbi shines in her role as Charlie, the ensemble cast, including Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, and Neena Gupta, are brilliant in their own right. However, it's Gabbi who steals the spotlight in almost every scene.

Star Performances

Wamiqa Gabbi's rise in the OTT space is undeniable, and her performance in this series reaffirms her talent. Her portrayal of Charlie is both effortless and engaging. Gabbi's ability to break the fourth wall adds depth to her character.

Priyanshu Painyuli also impresses with his ease of performance, while Lara Dutta's elegance deserves more screen time in roles like these. The veteran actors in the cast are, as expected, flawless in their roles. Imaad Shah stands out with his unique approach, even when not in focus.

Direction & Music

Directing a whodunit is no easy task, but Vishal Bharadwaj maintains a clear narrative. He takes an episodic approach, smoothly connecting the dots in a story set in a world similar to ours but distinct. The use of ghost-like elements adds to the mystery, creating a sense of fantasy.

The music in the series is exceptional, with two Rekha Bharadwaj Ghazals that elevate the overall experience.

Final Thoughts

"Charlie Chopra & The Mystery of Solang Valley" isn't without its flaws, but it's a commendable exploration of a new medium for Vishal Bhardwaj. As he delves into long-format storytelling, Wamiqa Gabbi's evolution as an actor shines brightly.

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