'Cab Stories' started streaming on Spark OTT on Friday noon. The first volume of the crime thriller, which involves a drug-dealing gang, is 90 minutes long. Let's find out what is good and what is bad about it.
Shalini (Divi Vaidthya) gets into the cab of Giridhar (Giridhar), who is introduced as a super-honest middle-class cabbie by the narrator. Shalini bonds over with the cabbie in no time and talks about her equations with her boyfriend (Srihan Shri).
But then, Giridhar is not what he seems. He has stolen a packet of a banned drug from his previous customer, who belongs to a team of drug dealers. The druglord has to find the missing packet as soon as possible. But Giridhar's mischief has already sparked off a set of uncontrollable events.
For Divi Vaidthya of Bigg Boss Telugu 4 fame, 'Cab Stories' was an opportunity to display her acting talent. But her role in the first volume is shoddily written. She gets to show off her glamorous side in the opening song and that's all there is to her character.
Giridhar, Srihan Shri and Nandini are decent, in that order. YouTube star Siri Hanumanth gets a short role. Comedians Dhanraj and Praveen play distracting roles without delivering actual impact. The rest of the cast doesn't make any impression.
Sujatha Siddharth's cinematography and Sai Kartheek's music handle the thriller without a semblance of intensity. Even in crucial scenes where the drug dealers are involved, the BGM is muted. The visuals hardly up the game. The viewer doesn't get the feeling that he is watching an edge-of-the-seat moment anywhere, thanks to how lazy the cinematography is.
The initial segment of 'Cab Stories' is staged like an RGV drama where Divi seductively dances to the song 'Kisko patha hain sala!'. The lyrics force us to make presumptions about her character. Writer S Krishna and writer-director KVN Rajesh have something else in store for us, though.
The love track involving Shalini and her boyfriend smacks of an old-school feel. The duo's conversations and bland one-liners don't look updated. And the conversations between Shalini and the cabbie don't sound natural.
After the first act, the drama moves to new characters. Praveen plays a HR manager whose sexual harassment puts off a character. He looks more intense than the drug-dealing batch. All the while, the BGM goes dry when it has to be tension-filled.
There are slow-motion walks for no reason. And the mysterious motives of the characters go over the audience's heads.
'Cab Stories' is packed with lazy co-incidences that lead to pedestrian situations. Shalini and Giridhar cross paths with a cop on the game-changing night just for the sake of artificial drama. How come the cop wants to check the bag of a random female passenger at night when there is no cause for suspicion? And how come this cop's character is not ended and becomes a cause for superficial concern?
In the recent Aha original 'Super Over', too, one too many co-incidences unfold in the span of a night. This is an artificial way of telling a story.
And just because this is a crime comedy, too, the characters start looking comical for the sake of it.
'Cab Stories' lacks the punch. A crime thriller and a semi-comedy, it has a weak storyline. The screenplay revels in lazy co-incidences.