Friends Reunion: Goa
Welcome to the four best years of your life! If anyone was to hear this line, the only four years they would think about is the 4 years they spent in college, assuming you did engineering, which most students in India end up doing irrespective of whether they want to do it or not. Four friends want to relive those four years, for a few days, escaping from their lives and jobs, in what could be the best possible reunion location in India, Goa.
Where would you begin if you were asked to relive your college memories? Most people would choose the first day, that pep talk you received from some professor about why you are in college and what you must look for.‘Friends Reunion’ takes that same point, albeit in a slightly different manner and cleverly introduces to us the characters of the series. It would have been easy and predictable to have a voiceover running through a montage telling us about the uniqueness of each character, but the writer tries something different here and it comes off quite well.
So, we have four friends, three of whom we know very well by the time the first episode is over. You can call them Ciggy the nerd, Prerna the writer, Rajan the scientist and Jigyasu who we are not quite sure about, but definitely likes to give away free advice especially when it is unsolicited. Now, this could have been a cliched type of Reunion drama that could have gone the Hangover route with four friends running riot in Goa with all the alcohol, nightclubs and beaches. That is what we seem to be heading for when the setting is established. But the series takes a pleasant, more serene route, with each character’s background and the genesis of the bond between the four being slowly unravelled over the course of 4 episodes. Goa is just the backdrop, and more than providing the scenic pleasure at times, and allowing the director to conveniently place beer bottles and cigarettes in almost every frame without being asked about the plausibility of it, Goa doesn’t play a key role. The same story could have as well happened in Kasauli or Alibaug. So, those of you expecting a Hangover kind of madcap fun ride, you can stay away.
What we get instead is a leisurely paced non-linear narration that shows how the bonds of friendship were forged over the four years in college. It is leisurely paced, as any vacation in Goa should be. The narration cuts back and forth from the vacation to the college days with almost every transition being quite seamless, starting with a well-placed dialogue or an event. The writing has excelled in making these shifts look smooth and not jerky as it easily could have been. It is the slices of college life that we get to see that holds our attention and the writing and editing have been clever enough to not allow any extended period where there are no such episodes. The intentional philosophical interaction with a professor, the ragging episode with the senior (played with just the necessary amount of arrogance) and some events in the hostel stay with us for a while. The dialogues play a big part in enhancing the experience as the writers have kept it real. Most web series make the mistake of going overboard with the swearing because censor’s not around. But, ‘Friends Reunion’ has drawn a line and not crossed it.
Some dialogues genuinely click, like the conversation with the professor about the meaning of life, the Interstellar analogy at the beginning, or the fact without emotion analogy to Sachin Tendulkar’s rasping straight drive in Australia, these are moments that stick with us. The diversity of each character is what make Friends Reunion interesting. No one is in the college for the same reason. Someone is there because he loves engineering, someone is there because he thought he would love engineering but found out that he doesn’t, the third guy is not sure what he is doing here, and the fourth person is there perhaps because everyone has to go to some college. The individual challenges of at least a couple of them are well explored in this short series, like a profound weakness in English for one guy. To add to that, at least 2 of the characters are at a crossroads in their life and career at the time of this reunion, which adds an additional layer to the narrative.
And, Friends Reunion is not about finding the perfect solution to everything. It is about acknowledging that everything cannot and need not be perfect, it is about accepting life as it is and making the most of it, with friends by your side. It is also about accepting that life need not be about shackles that society places on you, it is also about ‘free will’.
The best thing about Friends Reunion is the balance that is maintained throughout. No single character is more important than the other, there is no lead protagonist. The screenplay neatly balances space for all the main characters. Maybe we get to know a little more about a couple of characters than the others!
Aptly cast, with certain limitations no doubt! One character doesn’t look as convincing as a college student as the others, but we’ll let you judge that for yourself. The foursome, Patralekha, Aman, Ajay and Aditya does exactly what is required here, there is very little to complain about in the entire series. If you have some time, if you are game to watch a web series and if you are tired of swearing, drugs and gangster dramas, and if you would love a leisurely trip down nostalgia lane, then Friends Reunion is definitely prescribed. One only wonders why alcohol and cigarettes are such a constant presence. You might not be able to connect to everything that they show here, but if you have had the best 4 years of your life, you will definitely find something that you can relate to!
Friends Reunion Goa | Web Series Review
Cheers – Friends. Reunion. Goa | Web Series | Episodes