Actor Saif Ali Khan is kicking off 2021 with the Amazon Prime Video series Tandav. Created and directed by Ali Abbas Zafar and produced by Himanshu Kishan Mehra and Ali Abbas Zafar, the 9-part series features an ensemble cast headlined by Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Tigmanshu Dhulia, and Sunil Grover. From the trailer, one can gauge that Saif’s character has a lot of negative shade to it.
In the last couple of years, many of the actor’s roles have been in grey or negative space including last year’s blockbuster Tanhaji – The Unsung Warrior. Speaking of the role, Saif Ali Khan recently told Bollywood Hungama, “Let’s take the Tandav character – we are talking about a politician who is powerful and dangerous because of how he reacts. I was drawn to the character because you don’t know what he is thinking. He’s got this mysterious and placid exterior and that what’s happening behind the scenes is quite interesting. Anything can happen, therefore, it is entertaining to watch. Of course, it’s kind of make-belief, so he can go to any length. I kind of find that reaction interesting and I have gone through a phase maybe where a few of those roles have come together. Some of these negative roles that I’ve been drawn to are extremely well-written. They are better written than a lot of positive roles one has heard if you think in those terms. I don’t think in those terms, I think in terms like well it’s an interesting job.”
Saif Ali Khan admits that every household in this country discusses politics. “We, as Indians, are very political creatures. We like discussing politics a lot,” he says. “We always thought it’d be a good idea to do a show on politics. The big idea is that any kind of drama basically explores what happens to people under pressure and what would be more exciting than a political set with different factions and sections of Indian society, student politics, student love stories, teacher love stories, inter-caste relationships, power plays, deception, drama, murder – a lot of it is made up, a lot of it is based on things that actually happen and a fascinating show to kind of discuss, explore people and ambition!”
When it comes to relevancy, the actor adds that some of the scenarios in the series have happened. “There were so many things in the show that I was shocked that have actually kind of happened. Obviously, we don’t have fortune tellers in our scriptwriting department but we have had things that have been relevant in our country for a really long time and scenarios that could very well happen and some of those scenarios have happened. It’s like we aren’t trying to be sensational, we are trying to tell a story that has far reach and impact. What does politics concern? Who are the people involved in these political decisions?” he said.
But, Saif Ali Khan admits it’s all about putting out the story and the intention behind it rather than making it sensational. “As long as you are not being sensational, you are being relevant. Many conversations, hopefully, will be had in a healthy way about how we present certain things. It’s high-quality writing and directing so I don’t see an issue. I think the intention is important. Intention does not have to sensational,” Saif adds.
Tandav is about a leader of a premiere political party, Samar Pratap (Saif Ali Khan), who feels he’s ready to inherit the chair of PM after his party wins the (Lok Sabha) elections. Samar’s father, the party patriarch, and the Prime Minister of the country, Devki Nandan (Tigmanshu Dhulia) is not willing to retire yet. Anuradha, Devki’s close associate (Dimple Kapadia), party senior leader Gopal Das (Kumud Mishra) are a few of many other leaders considering themselves fit to sit the chair. But the chair never comes easy.
A parallel story plays out with the idealistic campus activist Shiva (Zeeshan Ayub) who becomes an overnight youth icon as he shines at a political event. Shiva wants to bring about the change, sway the youth, and overthrow the power pillars. Shiva gets the first taste of power. Shiva and Samar’s lives intersect as national politics meets campus activism. The dance of politics ensues as a series of events expose the inherent deceit, manipulation, greed, ambition, and violence in all the relationships.
Written by Gaurav Solanki, Tandav features a stellar ensemble cast including Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia, Sunil Grover, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Dino Morea Kumud Mishra, Gauahar Khan, Amyra Dastur, Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub, Kritika Kamra, Sarah Jane Dias, Sandhya Mridul, Annup Sonii, Hitten Ttejwani, Paresh Pahuja, and Shonali Nagrani among others. It will premiere on January 15, 2021.