Cops. Criminals. The underworld. Mum Bhai has it all. The story revolves around Bhaskar Shetty, a young boy who comes to Mumbai from Belawadi and gradually becomes India’s number one encounter specialist. In his thirst for success, Bhaskar loses his sense of self, making more enemies than friends along the way. Even as he disposes of lives with a casual flick of his gun, Bhaskar soon becomes a threat to many.
A tale as old as time
Right from episode one, you will realise that this is one of those shows that constantly jumps between timelines. Mum Bhai takes place across the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, when the underworld was in its prime and the city had to ‘be cleaned’ of criminals. In the beginning, a young Bhaskar (Angad Bedi) is shown arriving in Mumbai, having been sent off by his mother so that he can do something worthwhile with his life. In the city, his old family friend and mentor, Rama Shetty (Sikandar Kher) takes him under his wing. Rama is also a small-time criminal, working for a mafia gang. Soon after Rama gets him a job cleaning tables at a restaurant, Bhaskar completes his education and goes on to join the police force.
In what seems to be a rather unbelievable turn of events, Bhaskar is recruited into the ATS (Anti Terrorism Squad) by his idol, Anant Karekar (Sameer Dharmadhikari). What follows is a series of clichés, with Bhaskar becoming drunk with a sense of power, which makes him more ruthless and ambitious. He starts to count the number of encounters he’s pulled off, becoming cocky and arrogant as a result. With time, he even makes connections with film producers, offering them his protection against goons, for large sums of money. At the same time, Bhaskar also becomes friendly with politicians, ensuring his own safety from all ends. But not for long. Everyone wants to see Bhaskar fall and the story spins out around this idea, which soon gets tiring.
All in all, the story falls flat. Narrating a story between timelines may be a popular narrative device, but it hasn’t been used effectively in this case. It becomes difficult to keep track of which timeline we’re watching, which makes it even tougher to understand what’s happening. The repetitive background score which never seems to pause for breath, makes things worse. There’s even an item number thrown in for good measure.
The show is also riddled with clichés. From warring mafia gangs and self-assured journalists to power-hungry politicians and angry cops, it seems as if the makers have packed everything they could possibly think of from the genre, into 12 episodes. Bhaskar as a character is predictable and truth be told, a bit annoying. Sandeepa Dhar, who plays Bhaskar’s wife, is shrill and wooden. The only saving grace of the show is Sikandar Kher, who essays Rama Shetty with precision. He makes for a highly believable character and someone you may find yourself rooting for.
WATCH OR NOT
Apart from a series of encounters conducted by Bhaskar and crew, there is nothing really happening on Mum Bhai. It seems like everything from sex to cuss words peppering every dialogue to every plot twist imaginable, have been used to make up for an underwhelming plot. Unfortunately, nothing, not even Kher’s superior acting chops, could manage to salvage this show.
Creator: Akshay Choubey
Starring: Angad Bedi, Sikandar Kher, Sandeepa Dhar, Sameer Dharmadhikari
Streaming on: ALT Balaji and Zee5