Crackdown is an espionage thriller about a covert team on a mission to save the country. I should have said, “Yet another”. This genre has been crowded of late with OTT offerings in India – The Family Man, Bard of Blood, Special Ops to name a few.
In Crackdown, a covert team named “Direct Operations” (DO) works under the ambit of RAW and is deputed on special missions. While on a mission, it finds out that full details of the team and its working have been leaked to other side of the border. How the agency and the team go about pulling back from the situation while obviously being under the radar is the story. Within this plot is thrown in departmental politics which drives the screen play for a major part.
As a premise, this is interesting and is different from the other films we have seen in the past. However one cannot escape feeling a bit of deja vu seeing many of the scene constructs. But one essential difference is, Crackdown stays close the plot without unnecessarily bringing in the family angle of the covert team. Usually this is distracting and Crackdown does well to avoid that trap. The instances where the family angle comes in, are part of the plot points. So, through the 8 episodes, the narrative is taut and focussed on the plot.
Director Apoorva Lakhia who makes his OTT debut with this, does a fine job in keeping the pace steady with the screen play providing twists and turns as required. The staging of scenes and the filming are quite dynamic and seems quite close to reality.
As I mentioned, the writing by Chintan Gandhi and Suresh Nair is taut with the twists in the plot keeping us hooked most of the time. Where I felt the screen play faltered is when too much space is consumed by inner agency politics and rivalry. At times, this reaches it peak and makes the story unbelievable. Thankfully towards the end, the writers in one stroke bring the focus back on the subject. The plot turns at the end also seem like fantasy and unbelievable.
The cast led by Saqib Salim and Shriya Pilgaonkar and ably supported by others is impressive. Saqib’s dialogue delivery is a problem, but as the team lead of the special ops, unit he is good. As a woman leading a normal life to becoming part of the “DO”team, Supriya’s role is complex and she does a fine balancing between emotions and heroics required for the part. While Rajesh Tailang (a regular now in web series) is good as usual as the RAW chief, TV serial fame Iqbal Khan who is his deputy is a huge let down. His role is written poorly as well and is a weak link in the screen play. Some of the scenes involving him and his deputy are ironically comical.
Camera work (Amar Mohile) is of top order and the scenes mostly shot on real locations come alive through the camera! The director could have avoided the Hindi cinema type action sequences in the climax which are unreal.
At the end while one threat is put out by the DO team, there is one more looming large which obviously takes us to Season -2!!!
Overall, Crackdown though seems repetitive of the earlier series in the same genre, is worth the time. Do watch it if you are a fan of this genre. And ignore the slew of cuss words strewn all over!
Crackdown is streaming on Voot Select.