Starring acting stalwarts Arjun Rampal, Sakshi Tanwar, Neeraj Kabi amongst others, ZEE5 original The Final Call is a grim account of how an unsettled past can meddle with and make for a disturbing future. Directed by Vijay Lalvani, the makers of the web series dropped the season finale episodes of the digital drama recently. The series first opened to the shot of a foreign man looking at Skyline 502, a non-stop flight from Mumbai to Sydney, steadily losing altitude and taking a trajectory. An air crash is certain – the dangerously low sweeps were coming from the clear blue skies for the tall trees on the island it watches over. With our heart in our mouth and a bated breath we pondered, will this aircraft survive the crash?
The first four episodes of The Final Call introduced us to Captain Karan Sachdev (Arjun Rampal) who has also served as a Wing Commander in the Indian Air Force. He is the pilot-in-charge of Skyline 502, but he also has a mission of his own. Karan wants to die like an Air Force commander “mid-air” but his simple plan to commit suicide goes askew when his subordinates end up dead. A drastic turn of events leaves his co-pilot Abhimanyu and stand-by pilot Joe dead, and he as the sole person responsible for the cockpit. Enter ATC chief Kiran Mirza (Sakshi Tanwar). She boasts of a prestigious inning in the Army with a sound understanding of criminal psychology. Kiran deals with Karan with a kid’s gloves and could have very well accomplished a safe landing but…enter ATS officer Nilesh Kale. Kale can almost be taken for a typical character until Kiran sets him straight.
Besides Kiran and Kale, the narrative also introduced a bunch of ill-fated characters travelling on the plane. Siddharth Singhania (Jaaved Jafferi) is a business shark with an existential crisis. V Krishnamurthy (Neeraj Kabi) is a gifted astrologer who predicts his death mid-air on SL 502 when he was 13, and chooses to board the flight anyway! He has an interesting think tank when it comes to life and death. “Are we human beings on having a spiritual experience or are we spiritual being having a human experience?” he asks. There is also an Australian writer Sarah (Paula McGlynn) who figures her boyfriend is cheating on her with her best friend. Seated next to her is Dhruv Sehgal (Anshuman Malhotra) a 19-year-old who gives up his dream of playing football for his ailing grandmother. The edgy series also stars Anupriya Goenka as Air Hostess Parineeta who becomes the only point of contact between Kiran and Karan later in the series.
The last four episodes lead to a grave twist of situation. Karan is torn between his wish to die and unite with his dead wife and daughters, but he is now also charged of his colleagues’ deaths and risking 300 passengers’ lives. After ruling out every possible alternative, Kiran and Kale decide to send fighter jets to take control of the narrative. However, Karan shifts gears on his motive and ends up as the saviour. He asks Kiran for a deal – in exchange for a safe landing, he asks the flight to be left alone for half an hour after it touches ground. But because the ATC chief is not in a position to make such a promise, he opts for a plan of his own.
Amid all the chaos, Kale finds out that co-pilot Abhimanyu was Kiran’s son. He asks her to step away from the scene for she is emotionally compromised. A strong-willed officer that she is, Kiran asks of him to give her this opportunity to become at least a good chief if not a good wife and a good mother. After almost attempting suicide, she realises Karan is trying to take his own life and never intended to kill any of his colleagues!
Tucked between the episodes are profound talks about life and love. Krishnamurthy touches upon topics of spirituality, astrology and the meaning of life. He lays emphasis on the respective journeys of a soul and a body, before and after death. It is mention-worthy that the series very impressively blends in spirituality with a mayday situation that only calls for panic and superlative levels of worry. Revealing to Sarah that the true meaning of love is purpose, he starts a cycle of self-realization and interesting confessions follow.
Sure, the predictions could come close to inconsistent. But, The Final Call manages to keep us glued to our seats till the very second credit slate starts appearing on the screen! Imbibing an air crash with elements of life and beyond, there is something to the series that makes us want to watch till the very end. It could not necessarily be the suspense for predictions are inevitable, but the element of marvel that works for most of the parts in the episodes. You cannot help but watch what happens next!
The eight-episode drama takes a deeper dive into the incidents in our lives that scar us worse than we think they do. For some it could be the separation of their parents whilst they were young where giving up on their dream to fulfil someone else’s for others or something different from the two. Trauma can wreak havoc, you never know how and when!
Can we also take a moment to appreciate just how brilliant Sakshi as Kiran Mirza is? She impresses from the word go. Be it the lack of tone in an Army officer or her on-point calculations as an ATC chief, Sakshi exceeds our expectations. She has everything taken care of to the T, and you can’t help but take notice of her in every frame she features in!
Arjun Rampal as the brooding, depressed yet dedicated pilot is a perfect fit for the role. His chiselled face and towering persona are tailor-made for the character. An ex-Air Force commander shattered by the loss of his own who is also grieving the death of an innocent one leaves him on the sides. With Arjun and Sakshi, the series scales heights, rising from the deep and dark places to never-seen-before aspects of life.
Neeraj, Jaaved, Anshuman and Anupriya – all sink their teeth deep into their respective characters and elevate beyond the cliché supporting roles.
Que Sera Sera. Find Skyline 502 in the deep waters. Only two of them survive, and they fulfill the dreams of those who they met on the flight. Who are they? Watch the season finale of The Final Call on ZEE5 to find out!