ZEE5 Original, Three Half Bottles is a title that grabs the attention of many youngsters. Based in the hi-tech city of Hyderabad, the seven-episode series follows the lives of three bachelors. They are young and charming, but struggle at ‘adulting’. From blissfully ignoring problems and making mistakes to facing them head-on and finding their path, this coming-of-age drama is binge-watch worthy. With each episode spanning close to 25 mins, the show is entertaining and engaging.
The story begins in a 2BHK flat, owned by Nikhil’s father and shared between Nikhil, Aditya and Sirish, played by Aditya Pamnani, Sai Ketan Rao and Hriday Bharadwaj respectively. Sirish comes across as the wisest of them yet struggles to keep his branding business alive. He is unapologetic and refuses to take help from anyone. Nikhil is as confused as one could be! Sirish’s only employee, he is full of inferiority complex and believes that he isn’t good at anything. Aditya is the typical casanova with commitment phobia. Like many, he also revels in the cliched idea of freedom and decides to base his life on it.
The leading man, Sirish carries emotional baggage and refuses to indulge in any activity that requires him to confront his feelings. In the show, he does not spare any moment to talk about how he stands out of the crowd. What others believe to be his egoistic behaviour is, actually, his weakness – concealed with tangible achievements. Whereas, Nikhil is a complete opposite and fails to see the potential that everyone else is aware of. He tries too hard to make it big without acknowledging his abilities that can help him slide into situations and win them. Just like the big pitch, which, not Sirish, but Nikhil scores.
Aditya, a playboy, has a preconceived notion about freedom and wishes to lead a life on his own terms. Not that he has explored much! To sum it up, all three are running away from their own selves, and go on to blame each other for petty mistakes. That is when their mentor enters the frame. Meet Popz, the ad-guru who plays it cool. Actor John Kottoly brings back his charm and experience to this character. We buy into his ‘gyaan’ and life-lessons, only to doubt his morals and values. But hang in there, because he is the ‘guru’ for a reason.
Although the one-line descriptions sound plain, the lead characters are way more complex in their own ways and the actors justify their job with grace. The layers of this complexity unfold as the show progresses. Adding more meat to their struggles and journey are the three ladies in their lives – Shalini, Neha and Priya, played by Monica, Jasmine and Swetha respectively. The girls, too, have played their respective characters well. The story is boxed between these seven characters but the world created by director Prasad Raju is as real as the one we live in. The problems, the solutions and the many world views that writer Kaushal Sharma brings into the script is simple and to the point.
As the show progresses, the characters start confronting their hidden and bitter truths. We gauge them through cinematographer Prashant N’s lens, standing intimately. From accepting their complexities to understanding their misjudgements, they take us along. Even though they speak to each other in profanity and beat one another, at the end of the day, that is their bower and they are each other’s home away from home. A lot is on stake, but they are these stakes that bring them closer. Although, on the surface, it might look otherwise. Finally, the ZEE5 original, Three Half Bottles deserves applause for its efforts.