Dahaad ( Prime Video Series/ Slow Burn Thriller)
Created By – Reema Kagati, Zoya Akhtar
Cast – Vijay Varma, Sonakshi Sinha, Gulshan Devaiah, Sohum Shah
Dahaad is a stinging social commentary cleverly woven into the warp and weft of an extremely gritty thriller that keeps you on tenterhooks.
In a small town in Rajasthan, a plucky policewoman, Anjali Bhati (Sonakshi) unearths a string of cases of missing girls that could be linked to each other.
As revelations mount up, so does the difficulty of the police to nail the culprit.
The audience have been made privy to the perpetrator.It is not a whodunnit but a procedural thriller which in course of investigation , gives us a glaring look into the social milieu that is equal culprit for the fate of the girls.
As the chase quickens up, so do our heartbeats. The cold simplicity with which crimes have been done is scary, the culprit terrifying and the reasons that enabled all this with such ease is heartbreaking.
Somewhere amidst all this crime drama, we see a woman fighting out tenaciously against cast and gender prejudice, departmental politics, repugnant male gaze and societal pressure to conform.
There’s an honest police officer struggling at home front against deep rooted conditioning.
There’s an ambitious officer ,with an honest heart within, who is struggling with his inner fears.
The characters are well etched out and each of their sub-story is a character study that has something to convey. So do most of dialogues, conversations, gestures, looks, even the poem/ story being read.
It is actually the way they have infused the subtextual that sets it apart.
There’s so much they say and how !
Casteism, patriarchy, caste politics, corruption, misogyny, gender prejudice, societal pressures and conditioning ,marital relationship, dowry and most prominently -plight of the marginalised. The sheer list shouldn’t put you off.
You’ll have to watch this stellar piece of cinema put together by two amazing film makers to see how cleverly they have done so.
The pace is slow in first two episodes but picks up its grip on you as it proceeds, becomes very taut 5th onwards but the last episode seems tad hurried.
Performances have a lot to their credit in bringing to life this well written and well directed drama.
Those who thought Vijay Varma is loathsome in Darlings , will have to watch this one. The man defines sheer terror. As a simple well behaved, educated, soft spoken family man, without an iota of help from dramatised looks or gestures or actions, he brings to the table something beyond Darlings.
Gulshan Devaiah as Sonakshi’s senior is fabulous. That soft toned voice quality and the effortless naturalism he lends to his characters is what I love most about him. And man, the way he emotes with just his expressions!
Sohum Shah, mostly scene in serious roles, is superb in a lighter role this time.
Together these three amazing actors add heft to the show.
Sonakshi looks dashing as the straight faced ( too straight faced to be honest ) and resolute policewoman (loved her riding the bike like a pro).
She gives her best and it felt good to see such actors pushing the envelope, so much more than being song and dance prop and playing aide to mega heroes.Her performance though lacked the nuance that the character deserved.
The show is recommended for not only being a gritty slow burn thriller, with a fine set of performances, (one of which has raised the bar and is already the talk of the town ) but for the way it leaves your hearts and mind resonating with its dahaad!