P.I. Meena is slovenly thriller with slapdash climax

Tanya Maniktala plays the title-role in Amazon Priem Video’s series, P.I. Meena. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

They have spent over five hours in the narration when it could have been curtailed to a little more than three. And instead, they have hurried through the most lackadaisical climax I have seen in any series that does not exactly hint at a second season. I am talking about P.I. Meena.

Amazon Prime Video really needs to pull up its socks, with nothing notable of late after Dahaad and Jubilee. With the other major players, Netflix (which was presenting below-par stuff galore till 2021 and a bit of 2022) and Disney+Hotstar going good just now, media-hype is never the answer, which some of Amazon’s recent work is getting.

Here is Meena, a security consultant and private investigator, who metamorphoses into a “detective” (as she terms herself) because a young man, Partho Pratim Dey (Sawon Chakraborty), is struck by a truck as she is walking along a Kolkata street. She takes him to hospital, but he soon dies. And then Meena is met by the boy’s mother, Chandana Dey (Zarina Wahab), who tells her that her son has been murdered. She offers cogent reasons for stating this.

Meanwhile, in a hill station named Littnong, a lot of negative things have been happening for three decades, involving the citizens who have been victims of radioactive waste. Right now there is also intrigue about a lethal virus that kills both pigs and humans and a sincere doctor, Dr. Andrew Rakhaw (Jisshu Sengupta) who must be eliminated (!) as per Mes. Chopra (Sujata Sehgal), who runs the only (and quite big for such a hamlet!) hospital there.

We have people in cahoots with suspicious characters, and Meena has a comatose brother, Joy (Aditya Banerjee), who has been an accident victim too. There is Annie, Joy’s girlfriend (Ritwika Pal), with whom Meena is initially not on cordial terms and also Meena’s admirer, a lawyer who aspires to politics named Subho (Parambhrata Chattopadhyaya), who help Meena in her investigations. Why does Meena want to get to the root of the murder and other happenings? She can’t say!

Other characters flit in and out of this muddled and messy thriller that tries to create atmosphere with cinematography, VFX and background music (Rohit Kulkarni). They include Partho’s girlfriend, Rini (Suvosmita Mukherjee), Meena’s boss, Pritam Sen (Harsh Chhaya), a virologist (Vinay Pathak), a discredited doctor (Samir Soni), a patient who knows too much named Banshu (Pabitra Rabha), assorted politicians, bureaucrats, scribes and doctors, and last but nowhere the least, two foreigners who have been associated with the dead boy.

Is there any connection between Subho’s political aspirations and the case? Not really. We have a bioterrorist group that is only given a name, some gobbledygook about a deadly virus being sold to them, sundry gun attacks, Chandana’s “suicide”, government officials in panic, an intelligence officer (Vipin Sharma) who we never come to know is on the right or wrong side and more. The series, as mentioned above, ends on a hurried and inconclusive note.

As Meena, Tanya Maniktala puts in a sincere performance. Seasoned veterans Jisshu Sengupta, Parambhrata Chattopadhyay, Zarina Wahab and Harsh Chhaya put in work befitting their stature and expertise. Vipin Sharma is just alright and Vinay Pathak, frankly, is wasted, and seems to have accepted the role only because the climax features him after he has been seen sparingly throughout as Meena’s wellwisher.

The script, co-authored by actor Vipin Sharma, is the main culprit. No, that’s wrong! The main culprits are actually those who passed and locked this story so that it is actually made! I, for one, was expecting the last episode to be solid, smashing and sensible fter the complex build-up. But it was probably, the most garbled and wannabe-thrilling of the lot.

All I can say at the end is “P.I. Meena—“Preferably Ignore Meena!”

Rating: **

Amazon Prime Video presents QED Films’ P.I. Meena  Created by: Arindam Mitra  Produced by: Anay Baldua  Directed by: Debaloy Bhattacharya  Written by: Arindam Mitra, Ronak Kamat & Vipin Sharma  Music:Amit Chatterjee Starring: Tanya Maniktala, Jisshu Sengupta, Parambhrata Chattopadhyaya, Zarina Wahab, Harsh Chhaya, Chandrayee Ghosh, Denzil Smith, Vipin Sharma, Samir Soni, Saurav Das, Sawon Chakraborty, Ritwika Pal, Vinay Pathak, Sujata Sehgal, Suvosmita Mukherjee, Aditya Banerjee, Pabitra Rabha, Suman Choudury, Bimal Kumar Chakraborthy, Shoib Ahmed, Joydip Kundu, Dwaipayan Das, Alexandr Mizin, Sandro Puelo & others



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