CAT, starring Randeep Hooda as Gurnam Singh, aka Gary, is about history repeating itself. The episodes open with flashbacks before proceeding with the current-day storyline. In those past events, we see a young Gary being used as a police informant. Inspector Sehtab Singh (Suvinder Vicky) refers to him as a cat (hence the title) because he helps kill all the rats (terrorists). In the present timeline, Sehtab again uses Gurnam as a cat to his advantage. Women are tortured and sexually abused in the flashbacks. The present-day is also filled with such incidents, as women are similarly harassed. We learn how a husband molested a woman and how his wife took care of that woman. Something similar is repeated in the present. Earlier, the police chased terrorists. Now they are after drug dealers. The crime changes, but it nevertheless affects ordinary people, who are either forced to deboard a bus and brutally shot or are made addicted to drugs. Then there is the man who killed Gurnam's parents. He returns later, meaning the past itself arrives in the present.
In CAT, there are some characters who are neither purely good nor evil. This makes the task of our informant, Gurnam, a bit (emotionally) complicated. He might be helping the police catch a corrupt politician named Madam Aulakh (Geeta Agrawal Sharma). But that politician has a family and a tragic backstory where she does something good. Does that mean she should be forgiven? No, but she opens her arms and welcomes Gurnam into her fold. At one point in the series, she considers him part of her family and places so much trust in him that she orders the security to not follow her. "Gurnam hi mere liye kaafi hai," she says something along these lines to her guards. Naturally, Gurnam gets uncomfortable at the thought of betraying her trust. Something similar occurs earlier in the story when he becomes best friends with one of the criminals named Laadi (Dakssh Ajit Singh). Laadi puts all his faith in Gurman and is elated when the latter helps him celebrate the birthday of her daughter. As far as Laadi knew, Gurman was his brother. But then...
Generally, I am hesitant about shows that use cliffhangers in every episode to hook the audience. It shows that the creators do not trust their story to appeal to us, and hence, they have to resort to lazy tricks to make sure we tune in to the next episode and the next, and so on. While most of these cliffhangers do raise your excitement and prompt you to go on, the following episodes are rarely able to justify the build-up. Take the one in CAT where someone points their gun at Gurnam. In the next episode, the situation is solved as per our expectations. All the enthusiasm goes down the drain, and you are left underwhelmed.
Another problem with CAT is the lack of finesse in action sequences. The sight of men running and firing bullets coupled with rapid cuts is served to us as action. The directors take the most basic route, which never even builds an iota of adrenaline rush. The opening credits are never played at a fixed time. In one episode, they came after 20 minutes and jolted me out of the experience. Why not have them only in the first episode? Or at least, don't play them too late, as then they suddenly take you out of the story, leaving you with a feeling that you have hit a pole. The chaos at a concert in the first episode feels so stiff that you don't sense any confusion (you can spot fakeness in the movement of the people). Everything comes across as too planned. Look at the way the police officers clumsily hold an enthusiastic female fan (no wonder she escapes from their clutches) or the way two characters, searching for a drug dealer, stand at just the right spot. When Gurman eats food at an enemy's place, we see him impulsively firing his gun a montage later.
However, nothing significant comes out of this moment. He never again gets an irresistible impulse to fire his gun at just about anyone (I am not taking into account that scene in the last episode because that would have happened no matter the situation).
But for all its flaws, CAT is an entertaining series that closes some brackets and leaves things open for the sequel. Season 2 will most probably go international (be ready for Canada). As far as the first season is concerned, it has enough exciting meat on it to hold your attention. There were developments I didn't see coming, and they steered the story in interesting directions. All the actors are fine in their parts, though I would like to mention Hasleen Kaur, who plays the role of a police officer named Babita. Kaur speaks volumes through minimal gestures and expressions. You can always read her thoughts, which makes her character's dialogues redundant. I would love to see more of her in the future. I would also like to see the second season of CAT.
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