What’s Past is Prologue – | Review Score – 3.5/5
When Sorrows Come – | Review Score – 3/5
So Quick Bright Things
Love All, Trust A Few
Fight Fire With Fire
Heat Not a Furnace For Your Foe
My Stronger Guilt Defeats My Strong Intent
Based on the novel of the same name, Bard Of Blood is a high-octane espionage thriller, taking the best concepts of Hollywood action films and blending them in with a politically charged and exciting narrative. While the central focus is pretty simplistic, the series squeezes as many fight sequences and action segments into its seven episodes as possible, keeping the pacing incredibly quick throughout the series. While Bard Of Blood sometimes falls into the realm of melodrama because of its approach, for the most part this Hindi series is much more focused on delivering an action-packed story than it is in completely fleshing everything out in a compelling manner.
The story itself predominantly revolves around four Indian operatives captured by the Taliban after working behind enemy lines. With a disgruntled Kabir reluctantly pulled back into the fray again, what follows is a search and rescue mission that thrusts Kabir and fellow agent Isha together to bring these men back home. A death early on to one of their own sets the wheels into motion for both characters, as they’re forced to abandon the safety of India and head over to Pakistan to track down the supreme leader of the Taliban, Khalid.
From here, the episodes see this conflict escalate and grow, helped in part by Afghani agent Veer joining this unsanctioned mission. As the ISA begin to crack down on their rogue agents, and our trio move ever nearer to their mission objective, all of this builds up to the final episode which leaves things hanging on an agonizing cliffhanger despite wrapping up most of its plot points this season.
While some of the characterisation is a little light and Bard of Blood doesn’t always deliver with its ambitious narrative, there’s no denying that the action itself and the execution of that is second to none. Bard of Blood goes all out in this respect too, with explosions, gunfights and well-choreographed bar brawls showcasing this in all its glory. Acting as a mash-up between Jack Ryan and the Bourne films, Bard of Blood takes many influential action films and shows over the years and adds a unique Hindi flavour to proceedings, boasting a very capable and entertaining series.
It’s worth noting on the same subject of the characterisation that some of the dialogue does feel quite expository-heavy and at times is pretty heavy-handed. This does improve as the series goes on but to be honest, Bard of Blood really relies heavily on its action to drive the script forward. Those looking for something more realistic or gritty may be left wanting. This is an unashamedly over-the-top production, one that uses its action set pieces as a means of driving the narrative forward. If you’re looking for something more restrained or slower paced, this is certainly not going to be the series for you.
With so much going on, Bard of Blood does have a tendency to hop between India and Pakistan on a regular basis. In doing so, it can be a little difficult to keep track of the various different characters, but early on handy text drops show just who these characters are and, more importantly, who they’re working for. It’s a small touch but a largely welcome one, helping to avoid wasting time figuring out who everyone is. Thankfully, both Isha and Kabir really do well with the roles too and along with defected Afghani agent Veer, form a dysfunctional trio with good chemistry through the latter half of the series.
If you’re a fan of action thrillers and fancy something high-octane and full of excitement, Bard Of Blood is well worth checking out. With plenty of action sequences and some nicely implemented plot ideas, Bard of Blood does well to keep things interesting, even if it does end on a cliffhanger and fails to really flesh out its supporting characters as much as it perhaps should. Still, Bard of Blood is well worth checking out and while it’s unlikely to reach the same prolific heights as something like 24 or Jack Ryan, there’s enough here to make for a highly enjoyable series nonetheless.
Verdict - 7/10