Pause after watching the 1st episode and ask yourself, “Am I watching Avrodh 2 on Sony Liv or is it a new show called Shoorveer on Disney Hotstar?”
It would be a valid question to ask because the two shows are so staggeringly similar.
The Prime Minister of India, with a salt-n-pepper beard so you know who that’s supposed to be, gives his commands based on the advice of his trusted National Security Advisor. Whether the NSA is called Shailesh Malviya (as in Avrodh 2) or Milind Phanse (as in Shoorveer), they have the same brief: to checkmate Pakistan in one of its biggest conspiracies to cripple India.
Avrodh 2 was based on ‘India’s Most Fearless 2’, the book authored by Shiv Aroor and Rahul Singh, while Samar Khan is the Creator of Shoorveer. But with the name Bijesh Jayarajan in the credits of both shows, one wonders if the writer made xerox copies of one story for different production houses.
Note many more similarities in the two shows that showcase the PM, the NSA, the defence forces and a ballsy New India.
In Avrodh 2, the ISI is promised by India-hater Ehsaan Waziri, “Bahut jald Hindustan apne ghutne par hoga.” In Shoorveer, Riyaz Ahmed (Arif Zakaria) swears to the ISI that for the first time in 75 years, India will be injured and taught such a lesson, she won’t know what hit her.
Riyaz has his spies planted in India to install a malware in the defence systems that will blind the Indian forces while Pak attacks key air bases. On this side, India has set up Project Hawks, an integrated, land, air and sea defence force drawn from the finest fighters of the land, a 1st responder crack unit with one chain of command.
But the characters and situations in Shoorveer come from a popular template.
Avrodh had the familiar brashness-to-bonhomie graph between two equally sharp and fearless warriors. One called Pradeep and the other Imtiaz, communal amity is a must.
There’s similar abrasion between Viraj Sehgal (Armaan Ralhan) and Salim Kamali (Aadil Khan) in Shoorveer. Viraj is the “fighter more than pilot” but born to be a pilot. It’s not his technique at fault, his temperament is. (Dialogues: Nisarg Mehta.) When there’s a reference to super pilot Salim, Viraj says dismissively, “Not interested in Salim or Salim-Javed.”
That these two bravehearts in flying machines will end up having each other’s back is as obvious as the similarities in two shows streaming at the same time.
Between Samar Khan, director Kanishk Verma, Bijesh and screenplay writer Sagar Panday, they write in a bit of romance triggered by the same thoughts as outlined above. First, tension giving way to mutual attraction. When there’s a sharp exchange of words between Avantika Rao (Regina Cassandra) and Viraj who are both fearless in the skies, she with her own ‘alag swag’ predicts, “You won’t last a month.” But never fear, admiration will soon sizzle between the two.
Continuing with the favourite flavour of two different communities coming together, Salim is drawn to Preeti Sood (Shivya Pathania), a local restaurateur.
There’s another element common to most shows. Main characters must battle panic attacks sourced to past trauma and parental issues. Avantika must get over her “May Day” fear and Viraj must patch up with his father before the season’s over. They do so obediently.
Code M Season 2 which also had the backdrop of the defence forces, harped on dodgy defence deals. That spills into Shoorveer as J18, a fighter jet sourced from Sweden, has such an inherent manufacturing flaw that it lays the base and emphasises the importance of atma nirbhar and Make In India.
Shoorveer is thus an amalgamation of situations and characters drawn from various other shows. But it flies a notch higher than most others because of well-executed dog fights and aerial showing off.
Making it watchable are pleasant young faces Armaan Ralhan, Aadil Khan and Regina Cassandra. Manish Chaudhary (as Ranjan Malik who leads his dream Project Hawks) and Makarand Deshpande (as NSA Milind Phanse) pitch in with their veterans’ presence.
Last shot: A spy planted in India has a word in Pashto. It more or less translates into, here’s to Season 2.
Watch Shoorveer Trailer: