February 25 2015
Too slow to maintain a viewer’s interest interest or artfully constructed to build suspense and engagement? Our reviewer may be losing patience…
By Chayya Syal
AFTER the build-up of its first episode and a serious cliffhanger many – including myself – were eagerly anticipating the events of episode two in Sunday night drama “Indian Summers“.
The episode had promising storylines which were severely undermined by the ridiculously slow pace that the programme took. It was difficult to maintain focus and I found myself absently dipping in and out of the show. It makes one wonder: can ‘Indian Summers’ maintain interest despite its snail-like pace? Unfortunately we can’t fast forward live TV, but I’m sure that if it were possible, we would all use it when watching “Indian Summers“.
Ralph Whelan’s (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) assassin, who has been one of the best characters so far, (and not because he tried to kill Ralph) was revealed to be Chandru Mohan (Mano Maniam). He refused to speak to anyone until Ralph decided to visit him in jail. Mohan stroked Ralph’s ear and then slapped him until he bled – as you do.
The character who kept everyone on their toes was Naseem Ali Khan (Tanmay Dhanania), a young reporter from the ‘Delhi Herald’. Khan believed that the attempted assassination had a political motive behind it. His persistence rattled the civil servants – this was great to watch – and it was clear that Ralph definitely had something to hide. For the entire hour, Khan tried to speak with the assassin only to be denied access, while Ralph saw him and got a casual slapping.
When Khan finally got to see Mohan I was borderline furious (and wanted to shout at the television) when we were met with the sight of Mohan gurgling on his own blood having slit his throat. In an attempt to get Khan off his back, Ralph resorted to Cynthia’s (Julie Walters) scheming ways who had her manservant, Kaiser (Indi Nadarajah), have some papers forged which linked Mohan to a terrorist group. Move over Don Corleone! Khan believed them and proceeded to interview Aafrin from his hospital bed with Ralph looming.
Many relationships managed to get cleared up in the second episode; it turns out that missionary Dougie (Craig Parkinson) is married to Sarah (Fiona Glascott). The tension between Charlotte and Alice Whelan (Jemima West) heightened as Charlotte decided to do some digging up to find about Alice’s mysterious past.
Despite there being a lot of promise, strong storylines and terrific acting, it is confusing to remember all of the characters apart from Ralph, Alice, Madeleine (Olivia Grant), Sarah, Khan, Mohan, Leena (Amber Rose Ravah), Aafrin (Nikesh Patel) and Dougie. With so many characters, it’s more of a headache to remember who’s who then memorise the Periodic Table. I found myself struggling to remember who was who and why they were there such as plantation heir Ian (Alexander Cobb) and Adam (Shachin Sailesh Kumar).
What the show really needs is a good kick to actually get it going and give its audience a good reason to keep watching through its long ad breaks.
Here’s to hoping that episode three gives its viewers the excitement that we were promised in “Indian Summers” bold and colourful adverts prior to being aired.
- Indian Summers continues on Sundays at 9pm on Channel Four.