Starring – Amruta Khanvilkar, Amit Sial
Director – Aarambh Mohan Singh
Available on Hungama Play
On most occasions when a movie or a show in India has incorporated a serial killer as an intrinsic part of the plot, we have been presented with a whodunit. The audience is informed of the crime being committed and taken on a wild chase with the cops till the final moments reveal the identity of the killer. Over the years, we have developed a sense of familiarity with the genre itself. While the plot may be intriguing, we already know how it’s going to roll out – crime, chase, catch, repeat. It is here that Hungama’s first original show, DAMAGED, breaks the conventions and presents us with something that we haven’t seen before – a psychological crime drama featuring a female serial killer.
DAMAGED starts with the disappearance of a famous painter. Once the cops get involved, they realize that he isn’t the only one – there have been countless others who disappeared and were never seen again. Investigations start and Lovina, an otherwise ordinary woman, emerges as the suspect. Before you think this to be a spoiler, let us tell you that it isn’t. Interestingly, the fact that she is the killer is revealed in the first episode itself. What starts from here is a spellbinding cat and mouse game between Lovina and the cops, particularly Abhay, who is obsessed with catching the serial killer.
Through its run of 15 episodes, the show turns out to be an enthralling journey into the killer’s mind. We are made to understand her motive and given a chance to see the world from her perspective. There is no differentiation between white and black, good and evil in this story. Everybody lives and operates in a grey zone. One would expect the killer to be the villain and the cop to be the hero. However, here the line demarcating right from wrong blurs and in turn, makes for an interesting study of the characters.
Amruta Khanvilkar as Lovina is a revelation. She plays a promiscuous and seductive serial killer, who is also brutal and remorseless when situations arise. She gets an intricate role and as the focal point of the show, gives a performance that stays etched in your memory even after the show is over. Amruta is sensual, vulnerable and dangerous, all rolled into one, and as such displays a wide range of emotions. Her performance reflects conviction and dialogue delivery, finesse.
Amit Sial plays Abhay, a ruthless, angry and trigger-happy cop. Amit brings a certain energy to the role that only he can. His performance conveys his anguish while his eyes convey his turmoil. A special mention needs to be made about his performance in the final few episodes. His interactions with Amruta leave you wanting for more and go on to display what a fine actor he is!
Director, Aarambh Mohan Singh has created a world that captivates from the very beginning. At no point, do we feel like we’re watching a web series – the treatment of the show is film-like. That doesn’t come as a surprise though, given Aarambh’s past experience with Sanjay Leela Bhansali (Goliyon ki Raas Leela – Ram Leela), Sriram Raghavan (Badlapur) and Omung Kumar (Bhoomi). Aarambh pushes his actors to give an uninhibited performance, yet pulls them back when needed, preventing the show from becoming blatantly sexual, like most of the other web shows these days. Instead, sensuality has been used as a tool here that Lovina uses to lure her victims.
Damaged emerges as a winner on the back of strong, well-written characters, a unique storyline and deft direction. A must watch for those who believe in the power of storytelling! To watch DAMAGED, download Hungama Play.