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Friday, September 17, 2021

Kaali Peeli Tales review: Avoid, take an Uber instead

Amazon miniTV's Kaali Peeli Tales is a collection of six stories by Adeeb Rais that attempt to examine modern day relationships with Mumbai as the backdrop.

Written by Sampada Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: August 21, 2021 9:21:18 am
Kaali Peeli Tales reviewKaali Peeli Tales is streaming on Amazon miniTV.

The Indian streaming space is starting to get comfortable with the idea of anthologies and in the past couple of years, we have seen a bunch of these collections appear on the major OTT platforms. The anthologies are usually designed in a way where a common theme strings all the stories together and Amazon miniTV’s Kaali Peeli Tales tries to build itself up with the same intention. As the name suggests, the six stories here are all set in Mumbai and have their climatic moment in a black and yellow cab or a ‘kaali-peeli’. But unlike what one would imagine, the cabs are not a a vehicle for the story but just another location for the resolution scene that could have been filmed anywhere else.

The six stories in Kaali Peeli Tales range from being mediocre to below par, with some making you roll your eyes every few minutes and wondering if this is how you want to utilise the data on your device. In Kaali Peeli Tales, the stories are all about relationships, and how the characters navigate matters of love via a modern day lens.

Written and directed by Adeeb Rais, Kaali Peeli Tales struggles with emotional authenticity. It feels like Adeeb’s intention was to make a Modern Love-esque kind of bouquet of stories but the execution does not live up to the promise. Usually, anthologies see different filmmakers come together and interpret the central theme in their own way but here, it is just Adeeb interpreting the emotional aspect of the city of Mumbai six ways, which starts getting repetitive pretty soon.

Kaali Peeli Tales boasts of some great cast members but unfortunately, their struggle to make sense of the mediocre writing is quite evident. Harra Bharra featuring Vinay Pathak and Soni Razdan starts off with some hope but eventually has the characters saying lines that sound like an oft-forwarded WhatsApp message. Single Jhumka featuring Sayani Gupta and Priyanshu Painyuli tries to delve into infidelity but it is only Sayani’s meditative presence that makes the story watchable.

Marriage 2.0, which stars Maanvi Gagroo and Hussain Dalal, feels extremely forced as the relationship of this married couple doesn’t look lived in. The couple is toying with the idea of an open marriage but the artificial dialogues end up making it look like someone else’s idea of what modern marriages are, instead of giving this particular relationship a unique personality.

Love in Tadoba, featuring Inaayat Sood and the director himself, is the one that leaves you exasperated. The core of the story is all about attraction between opposites but as it moves on, you are left puzzled because of their hackneyed dialogues that sound like a Boomer’s interpretation of how Gen Z talks.

sharib hashmi Sharib Hashmi in Kaali Peeli Tales.

Kaali Peeli Tales tries to rise in moments but those are so few and far between and often occur because of its actors like Sharib Hashmi and Tanmay Dhanania.

All the six films in Kaali Peeli Tales struggle with really stale background music which sounds like an unending elevator track. This anthology series is the first of its kind for Amazon miniTV but for the viewers, it is another one in the long list of short film collections that offer it some serious competition.

Verdict: The shorts range from 22-30 minutes so it could be something that you could watch while having a meal but in case you don’t, you aren’t missing anything. I bet you have plenty more on your watchlist anyway!

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