Bose: Dead Or Alive Review: Rajkummar Rao’s Netaji act makes this thriller the best web-series of 2017

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Bose Dead or Alive should not be missed!

National Film Award winner, rajkummar rao, has been enjoying a good streak in his career. With as many as six movie releases and one web-series launch in 2017, there’s no stopping him. Having traversed the distance from being a character actor to now being an established mainstream hero – Rajkummar’s journey so far, has been nothing less than a fairytale, albeit one with no fairy godmothers.

Digital is the way forward and keeping up with the changing times, Rajkummar is starring in a web series, that’s being aired on Ekta Kapoor’s online channel ALT Balaji. If that hasn’t got you excited yet, let us tell you that the actor is playing the role of subhash chandra bose. Yes, that did set our hearts racing too. So, when we were called to review the first few episodes of the show, needless to say, we jumped at the opportunity…

What’s it about

A dramatized adaptation of Anuj Dhar’s novel ‘India’s Biggest Cover-up,’ Rajkummar Rao’s Bose gives an investigative insight into India’s most classified secret – Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s death. With a narrative that switches between 1945 and the early 1920s, it outright negates the accepted ‘truth’ that the patriot died in a plane crash on August 18, 1945. Exhibiting Netaji’s tryst with freedom, the story traces his journey from a 14-year-old school boy, who ran away from home in a bid to make mistakes, to a person who marries azaadi (freedom).

While the rest of the world is at peace on hearing of his death, there are two people – British officer, Stanley (played by Edward Sonnenblick), and Bose’s German wife, Emilie Schenkl (played by Anna Ador), who anxiously wait for his comeback. How Stanley gathers evidences against a man, who has already been declared dead, forms the crux of the series.

What’s Hot

Oh, everything! Putting on weight, shaving hair off, learning a new language – all those are superficial changes and seen before, but what’s wonderful is the manner in which Rajkummar manages to get the temperament right. We get to see him for the first time in the scene where a young, pot-bellied Subhash beats up Professor Otten (played by Zachary Coffin) with his slippers, after the latter confiscates his classmates’ religious objects during an examination. Rao won us over with this very scene. The fire in his eyes and the I-give-a-damn attitude in his body language, compels you to do a double take as to if he isn’t really Netaji, who has risen from the ashes to tell his story to the world.

And not just Rajkummar, all the actors have delivered impeccable performances – be it Naveen Kasturia, who plays Darbari Lal’s role (A British servant), Patralekhaa, who portrays Nandini, or Edward Sonnenblick, the lead antagonist. The casting is on point.

Period dramas, especially the ones based on real life events, can get extremely tricky but director, Pulkit, has done an outstanding job. Not only has he made the complicated script simpler to understand for non History buffs like me but has also made it a thrilling watch. There is not a single dull moment in the series. Two more people, who need to be credited for making Bose a compelling watch, are – writer Reshu Nath and cinematographer Kumar Saurabh, who have done their jobs impeccably well.

Music composers, Neel Adhikari and Qaushiq Mukherjee, have infused life into the web-series with their music. The title track ‘Bose,’ as rightly pointed out by creative producer Hansal Mehta, embodies the spirit of Bose. It echoes in your ears longer than you expect it to.

What’s Not

Only because I am supposed to fill this space, I would say that I wish the voice-narration would have been a bit better. The narrator’s voice was not arresting enough, according to me.


The captivating plot, thrilling screenplay, heart-thumping music, combined with stellar performances make Bose : Dead or Alive a must-watch.

Rating:4 out of 5

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