9 Hours Review: A sublime premise marred by creative choices

The Disney+ Hotstar original series hailing from Krish Jagaralamudi is adapted from Malladi Venkata Krishna Murthy’s thriller novel “Thommidi Ghantalu” and stars Tarakratna, Ajay, Vinod Kumar, Madhu Shalini, Ravi Varma, Ankith Koyya and Sri Tej in the lead roles.

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Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 41 seconds

After the disappointing outing of Kondapolam, Krish is back again with another novel adaptation, this time as a streaming television series for Disney+ Hotstar. The crime-thriller heist show is set in the 1980s and revolves around a well-planned bank heist orchestrated from inside a prison. The show begins with three prisoners escaping from the prison to carry out triple bank heists in various locations of Hyderabad. One location’s heist goes wrong and Tarakratna’s CI Pratap who happens to be in the neighbourhood jumps into action.

The main plot point here is, that the prisoners need to be back at the prison by the time of the next roll call which will take place in 9 hours and hence the title. The series consists of nine 30-minute episodes, each corresponding an hour in the same formula as the hit Fox show 24. However, they couldn’t keep the episodes engaging with the tightly knit screenplay. The screenplay deviates in many places such as sexual harassment, romance, and unnecessary clichéd backstories for some characters that aren’t central to the plot point. Even these scenes sometimes present contrasting characterisation. If the plan was to get viewers to sympathise with them, it was gone horribly wrong.

Krish Jagaralamudi who acted as showrunner for the series should have treated this series with more care by closely knitting the plot points together. He failed at that job completely. I’m not familiar with the source material. Even, if the novel has those clichéd chapters to go through, the team could have left them out. Those scenes have bloated the runtime but haven’t added any weight to the overall story. I would have liked it more if the series was short and to the point, but the way it was shot, I would imagine the plan was to make a pricey soap opera rather than a premium streaming series.

Given the similarities to the Spanish series Money Heist, I would have liked it if Krish and directors Jacob Verghese and Niranjan Kaushik had taken notes from that series and improved the overall structure of their show to make it more engaging. That never seems to have happened. Even the true motive of the overall plan isn’t even acknowledged till the final episodes, even that was just a hint. Hopefully, if there will be a second season (as it left many unanswered questions), the creative team will go back to the drawing board and improve the overall quality of the product.

Barring a couple of characters, the show was well cast but the show did not test most of the actors enough. Veteran actor Vinod Kumar wasn’t utilised properly and the dubbing of his character is erratic. Coming to Mounika’s Suguna, her performance was so over the top that I felt I was watching some Telugu soap. The only positive thing or the only thing I liked about this show is its music, performed by Shakti Kanth Karthick.

Finally, I can conclude by saying that series never truly taken off to achieve what it was aiming for. The creative choices have let down a spectacular plot. The show is currently streaming in Telugu and other Indian languages on Disney+ Hotstar in India and on Hulu in the USA.

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Avatar of Saichaitanya Kambam
Saichaitanya Kambam

News Reporter

Sai is a film and sports enthusiast. He loves to write about film, Television, and OTT developments. You can find him binging series or films on OTT platforms in his free time.

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