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Last Updated 14.07.2024 | 9:00 PM IST
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Web Series Review: Dahaad

en Bollywood News Web Series Review: Dahaad

DAHAAD is the story of a serial killer on the loose. Anjali Bhaati (Sonakshi Sinha) is a cop in Mandawa, Rajasthan and who works under SHO Devi Lal Singh (Gulshan Devaiah) and Kailash Parghi (Sohum Shah). All is going well in this sleepy town until one day, Rajni Thakur (Astha Arora) decides to marry Altaf (Waris Ahmed Zaidi) against her family’s wishes. It becomes a political issue after she elopes. As a result, Devi Lal Singh is pressured to file a kidnapping complaint against Altaf, though Rajni has run away with Altaf with consent. Meanwhile, Murli Chandal (Yogi Singha) is worried as his sister Krishna (Adithi Kalkunte) has been missing for two months. The cops refuse to entertain him as Krishna had left a letter which clearly said that she’s eloping by her choice. With no other option, Murli tells local leader Mahipal Singh (Naresh Malik) that Krishna has run away with a Muslim guy. Mahipal raises this issue and the cops are compelled to investigate the case. The cops soon find out that Murli is lying and that Krishna has run away with a man named Vijay. While checking Krishna’s phone records, the cops learn that she was speaking to a woman named Fatima for hours. The call records of Fatima show that she was interacting with another woman regularly, again for long hours. Anjali and her team also stumble upon a shocking truth – all these women are missing! On the other hand, somewhere in Mandawa, Anand Swarnakar (Vijay Varma) is living happily with his wife Vandana (Zoa Morani) and son Kapish (Divyanshu Veerwani). He teaches at a women’s college on the weekdays and during the weekend, he tours Rajasthan to educate poor kids. Anand, hence, is quite respected in the society. However, no one is aware that he has a dark side that has led to the destruction of several lives. And the cops and authorities have no inkling until Anjali starts to join the dots. What happens next forms the rest of the series.

Web Series Review Dahaad

Web Series Review: Dahaad

Reema Kagti, Ritesh Shah, Karan Shah, Chaitanya Chopra, Mansi Jain, Sunanya Kumari and Zoya Akhtar's story is terrific. There have been several films and serials on serial killers but this one stands out. Reema Kagti, Ritesh Shah, Karan Shah, Chaitanya Chopra, Mansi Jain, Sunanya Kumari and Zoya Akhtar's screenplay is topnotch. One of the biggest strengths of the writing is how they have fleshed out the character of the serial killer and his unique modus operandi. Viewers haven’t seen anything like this and moreover, the writers don’t immediately give out his game plan. As a result, not just the cops but even the viewers will wonder how the killer operates. The other tracks, too, are very powerful and add to the principal story. Sumit Arora's dialogues are sarcastic and hard-hitting.

Reema Kagti and Ruchika Oberoi's direction is splendid. There are eight episodes in all and each episode is more than 50 minutes long. Unlike several web shows which seem to be long for the heck of it, DAHAAD doesn’t bore or feel dragging even for a second. This is because there’s so much exciting happening at every moment. At the same time, the makers raise some valid points on caste and gender discrimination. Instead of forcing it, it flows very seamlessly and it further enhances the impact. Most importantly, the cat-and-mouse chase between the cops and the killer is what engages the most and in this regard, both Reema Kagti and Ruchika Oberoi score very well.

On the flipside, the family track of Kailash is unconvincing. The reason for him to be jittery about bringing a child into this evil world isn’t easy to digest. While all the tracks reach a conclusion, one major track is left abruptly. Also, the cross-border angle is not properly conveyed.

Every episode of DAHAAD begins in a unique manner. At first, it seems confusing but in the subsequent episodes, it makes sense. The first episode is powerful and even nail-biting, especially the kidnap scene of Altaf and the scene at the railway track. From religious politics, the focus neatly shifts to the serial killer in the second episode. Several scenes leave a lasting impact. Some of them are Anjali raising her voice at Devi Lal and apologizing to him, the death due to the hair dryer, Harry being caught red-handed in school, Anjali admonishing Anand’s father for caste discrimination, Anjali blasting her mother over marriage in the second last episode, Devi Lal’s outburst with his wife etc. An important scene that deserves mention is Devi Lal educating his son about sex education as it can be quite inspiring for many who are jittery to talk about it with their children.

Web Series Review: Dahaad

DAHAAD rests on superior performances. Special mention should also go to Nandini Shrikent and Karan Mally's flawless casting. Sonakshi Sinha takes the cake and delivers a stupendous performance. As a no-nonsense cop with an acidic tongue, Sonakshi nails it and this act will surely benefit her career immensely. Vijay Varma delivers his best act till date. We have seen him in a negative role in DARLINGS [2022] but here, he takes it to another level. Gulshan Devaiah is great as an upright cop and progressive father and leaves a huge mark. Sohum Shah is natural and contributes nicely to the show’s happenings. Zoa Morani is memorable. Manyuu Doshi (Shiv Swarnakar; Anand's brother) and Yogi Singha leave a huge impact in small roles. Jayati Bhatia (Devki; Anjali's mother) is lovely. Swati Semwal (Neelam; Kailash Parghi's wife) doesn’t get much scope while Shruti Vyas (Shivangi; Devi Lal's wife) is quite good as she gets to play a well-written character. Ankur Verma (Sunny; Anjali's boyfriend) doesn’t have much to do. Sanghmitra Hitaishi (Miriam), Prashansa Sharma (Sindoora) and Ratnabali Bhattacharjee (Renuka; nurse) are brilliant while Rytasha Rathore (Lata) is a surprise. Astha Arora, Waris Ahmed Zaidi, Adithi Kalkunte, Naresh Malik, Divyanshu Veerwani, Manjiri Pupala (Aarti), Sanjeeva Vats (Anand's father), Mikail Gandhi (Harry), Varad Bhatnagar (Kassim; IT guy), Mikail Gandhi (Harry), Mazel Vyas (Surekha; student who falls for Anand), Karan Sharma (Jai Doria) and the actor playing Devi Lal’s daughter are fair.

Gaurav Raina and Tarana Marwah's music exhilarates impact, especially the haunting theme played in the scenes of Anand. The opening credit theme is catchy. Tanay Satam's cinematography is breathtaking. Smriti Chauhan's costumes are very realistic. All characters are wearing non-glamorous clothes and it adds to the realism. Shailaja Sharma's production design is first-rate. The action is appropriate. Anand Subaya's editing is sharp.

On the whole, DAHAAD is one of the finest shows to have come out in the Indian digital space. It boasts of powerful performances, a taut script and terrific direction, and most importantly, it also makes an important comment on caste and gender discrimination. It is sure to become a talking point in the days to come not just for its hard-hitting and funny moments but also for its underlying themes. Recommended!

Rating – 4 stars


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