JL50, a sci-fi thriller, directed and written by Shailender Vyas, is said to be based on the conspiracy theory of aeroplane TWA Flight 513 that took off in 1954 but landed after 35 years with 92 skeletons. Apparently, the plane travelled through time.
In the series, based in West Bengal, terrorists hijack aeroplane AO26 demanding the release of their leader, Partho Majumdar. Majumdar heads a Communist organization ABA, which wishes to separate Bengal from India. At first, the CBI believes that AO26 crashed. However, on the site of the crash, they find JL50, which went missing in 1984. During his investigation, CBI officer Shantanu (Abhay Deol) finds the plane and everything surreal in it. Hence, along with Professor Das (Pankaj Kapur) and pilot Bhiu Ghosh (Ritika Anand), he travels through time to solve the mystery.
A miniseries with 4 short episodes, the series has a medium pace but lags sometimes. Filled with crime, science, politics, mystery, etc, it is a desi Dan Brown. Apart from a few twists, the script looks predictable with a hero solving a mystery with a messy personal life. The script also has multiple inaccuracies.
The direction is very disappointing. There seems to be a lack of effort. With a fairly fascinating concept, this series could have been much more impactful, but it lacks a smart and intense execution. Being a thriller, it portrays very less tension.
Pankaj Kapur is the best thing about this series. Right from the first scene, his acting is impactful. He is the only one holding the series together. Piyush Mishra, as a mad scientist, scares you with his terrifying gaze but has limited screen presence. Abhay Deol as the lead is underwhelming. He sports a bored look the entire time. Every actor has a Bengali accent except Deol. Ritika’s acting is suitable for a horror film rather, not a thriller. Rajesh Sharma, as Gaurango, Shantanu’s colleague, is there only to crack jokes about his wife. As a colleague, he has been given less than minimum space. Sharma could have contributed greatly if he was given more screen time.
The dialogues explain quantum physics in a simple language to the viewers. The sound is apt. It is dramatic, creepy and beautiful depending on the scene. Honestly, it adds more to the climax than the lead actor does.
The camera presents gorgeous landscapes that you must have missed during the lockdown! They didn’t capture the beauty of Kolkata, but there are enough scenes with soothing scenery. It is also creative, experimenting with light and colours.
A Sony Liv Original, JL50 will be streaming exclusively on Sony Liv from September 4, 2020.