November Story review: Tamannaah’s web series is a colossal disappointment

November Story is a significant improvement compared to the current Tamil daily soaps on television. But by the standards of web series, the Tamannaah starrer is a colossal disappointment.

In the fifth episode of November Story, an inspector, played by Aruldoss, gathers all his subordinates in a room at the station. He has traded his uniform for a more comfortable lungi and a shirt. He asks his fellow officers to get ready for a long haul. “You cannot excuse yourself from the room for any reason (even if it means you don’t get home for the next two days),” says the inspector. He has gathered everyone inside a room hoping to crack a very complicated case that has become a nightmare for the police department. His investigative method suggests that he is not a great believer in actual police work. Instead of basing his investigation on clues, evidence and witnesses, his go-to strategy to crack a case seems to be to lock himself up in a room with his colleagues and stay there until someone comes up with an acceptable theory.

The scene resembles less a police procedural and more writer’s room of a television show or web series. It sort of gives us a sneak peek of how the creator of November Story might have squeezed the fellow writers on his payroll to get acceptable ideas for the crime series. Once he had the interesting ideas, the creator must have hammered them out and turned them into multiple stretches of riveting narratives. However, like the inspector’s investigation, the writing of November Story also feels superficial and forced.

November Story begins with a freak road accident during one rainy night in the year 1995. It is a horrific scene with dead bodies strewn all over the place. There seem to be no survivors except for a little girl, who is weeping inconsolably. Cut to present-day Chennai, we meet a whining man who is causing a lot of trouble for his caring daughter, Anuradha Ganesan (Tamannaah). Her father Ganesan (GM Kumar), a famous crime novel writer, is now suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s. Needless to say, he has become a very difficult person to live with. But, Anuradha doesn’t give up on her father. She needs money to fund his treatment, so she decides to sell a dilapidated family property, which she can’t do without the consent of Ganesan. And Ganesan is hell-bent on preventing the sale of the property at any cost. The logic dictates that if Anuradha wants to sell the property she has to first convince Ganesan to cooperate with her. But, for some reason, Anuradha keeps meeting potential buyers even when she is fully aware that she can’t make the deal official without her father’s signature. Then why does she do it? The series is replete with logical errors.

It looks like the aim of director Ram aka Indhra Subramanian was not to tell the story as compellingly as possible. Instead, he wanted to drag it out hoping he could trick the viewers into believing that what they are watching is a good web series.

November Story has a few strong ideas. The main premise is itself is intriguing: a man with a memory problem is found at a murder scene and it falls on his daughter’s shoulder to get to the bottom of the truth and save her father from going to jail. For the first time, we get a close look at the life of the doctors who perform post-mortems. It is not an easy job as it is both physically and emotionally taxing.

Indhra Subramanian could have further explored the character of veteran autopsy expert Kulandhai Yesu, who is played by Pasupathy. Easily, Yesu is the most interesting character in the entire series. Like other strong ideas, Subramanian lets Yesu go to waste without exploring the character’s full potential. Subramanian is limited by his own imagination and the lack of complete understanding of the web series format.

November Story is a significant improvement compared to the current Tamil daily soaps on television. But by the standards of web series, it is a colossal disappointment.

November Story is streaming on Disney plus Hotsar. 

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