Apart from Aahat, a series that was aired in the ’90s, I have always shown little interest in Indian horror shows or movies. Even then, I would watch Aahat only because some of the episodes in that series was funny rather than scary. By using underdeveloped animation technologies, unrealistic makeup and costume and bad yet comical performances, Aahat remains as one of my childhood favourite series. And, like I am sure it would be for many Indian 90’s kids. Well, I am extremely happy that this series was nothing like Aahat. Yes, this series may have its hitches, but it exhibits the range and possibilities of what Indian horror series can do. I must say, the picture does not look that grim.
For this series, I am going to do a spoiler-free review as some of the places this series does give it’s audience a shocker.
The first thing that impressed me about this series is its choice of location (Goa), and set design. It looked like, thought was put into it and minute details were considered. The second thing that I will complement is the direction, by Sujoy Ghosh, and the third thing, editing, by Dnyanada Samarth. Every scene was very well shot and clear, even though, some of the shots looked inspired from other horror movies. However, all in all, it was presented well.
Apart from the directing, another redeeming quality of this series is the acting. All the actors performed extremely well, especially keeping in mind, the plot. Like, Palomi Ghosh as Jenny, Purab Kohli as Inspector Ravi Anand, Sonali Sachdev as Charu, mother of Fakeer and Kanwaljit Singh as Madhav Matthew, grandfather of Jenny. Also, I will, specifically, call out the names of all the child actors: Aarna Sharma as Sameera Anand, Aaryansh Malviya as Nikhil, Palash Kamble as Devraj Banerjee and Mikhail Gandhi as Satyajit Tandon, who gave a brilliant performance.
The plot, though, was engaging, it did lack in detail. In other words, at the end of the series, there will be a lot of unanswered questions popping up in the audience’s mind. Like, how did Fakeer’s (the evil guy) mother get the supernatural power? How could Fakeer’s mother change her strongly held beliefs with just one incident, and start believing people are bad? What was Fakeer’s wooden doll doing and what was its purpose? Did Peter Fernandez, the protagonist, Jenny’s husband, pay-off the money to the woman with whom he had an extra-marital affair, etc.
Additionally, I feel that the plot was so complex that they got involved in joining the plot together, that somewhere, they forget about scaring/thrilling the audience with visuals. They did use some jump scare tactics, initially, using the character Anya, elder daughter of Jenny, who seems to have left the plot somewhere in between- What’s up with that? In the end, Jenney’s family with whom she had shifted back to her grandfather’s house, left her to deal with some goofy evil powers with a local police inspector who is smitten by Jenny, and some unobedient kids. They kept on creating suspense regarding the story behind the book of Sultanpur, that apparently Jenny’s grandfather wrote. Instead of working on scaring the audience with visuals, like, they had done in the first episode. In the end, they go on to kill characters without making the story thrilling, but it doesn’t work well.
Another thing that emerged out of this series was a cultural difference. What I mean by this is, that here, the director, of course, took reference from the series Stranger Things, where some kids came together and solved a mystery. However, I didn’t see education coming in between them and their mystery-solving in Stranger Things. If they held a meeting, they did that, usually, after school in one of the member’s house. However, in this series, the only time kids got to do anything creative or out of their curriculum was when they bunked school. Wait, is it normal? Let’s pause for a moment, and reflect, not only, are these restrictive thoughts, faced by children in their daily life today, but now, it has started to infiltrate art (series and movies)- really?
Another thing that I found funny was the animation. Yes- it was much better than Aahat, but at the same time, it was not like Avatar, though that is not expected in a budgeted series. The animation in the series reminded me of Taarzan: The Wonder Car, especially, when the Typewriter automatically repaired itself- you have to see it know what I mean.
Apart from certain themes and plot holes, I consider this series quite entertaining. Though I would also say if you have better series in mind to watch, you can skip this.
Watch the trailer before you make up your mind:
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After watching this! No need to switch on the lights and sleep.
So, no need for me to say, “Take Care.”