ARJUN TV review: Not too bad, good stories

The new crime show on Star Plus has its good points – more of them than we expected!

Crime shows in India got some kind of credibility with the carrot-crunching Karamchand and his acolyte Kitty, many years ago. And then came a whole retinue of average wannabes, from Jasoos Vijay to Saboot, Monica Mogre, Special Squad and many more. Some tried hard to be original, while others did their best to ape the West and fell flat on their small screen faces. After serials like Krishna Arjun and Powder, we were given a delicious dose of crime fighting with CID, which made characters like Daya and ACP Pradyuman heroes to their vast audience.

And now comes Arjun, which premiered earlier this month on Star Plus. The backstory is kept shrouded, a little revealed with each episode. ACP Arjun Raute, played by Shaleen Malhotra, is a rather grim, dour, taciturn soul, a loner, who prefers to keep his past to himself. He – as hero – has the blinding insights and almost always is right, even though the others in the Emergency Task Force (ETF) team that he has been transferred to – headed by Rathod, with Shree, Chhotu and Riya – tend to resent him and his attitude. Along the way we find that Arjun was a policeman who was suspected of having murdered his wife – there are flashbacks and suggestions and, in the last episode, a newspaper clipping that tell something, if not all.

So far, the stories have been interesting. One focused on honour killing, with a twist in the tale at the last moment. Another told of murder done to hide evidence of previous murder. There is action which is surprisingly realistic, there is a lot of gun pointing, some chasing after bad guys and a forensic lab that never seems to uncover evidence that could nail the villains in time. Of course, this one cannot be compared to a CSI or Criminal Minds or even Castle, but it ain’t too bad for a homegrown show that has to be simple and catchy enough to divert the prime time audience from its usual fare of soaps. A decent effort that with time and practice, could become well worth the watch.