For those who have believed in their talent ever since Lootera, Dahad is a truly rewarding experience, notes Sukanya Verma.
A blurred image of the various stages of a dying bride at the beginning of each episode serves as a prelude Dahadis the menacing backdrop and pursuit of a predator.
Gradually, as the image becomes clearer, the overall picture that defines the series also becomes clearer.
A noxious combination of misogyny, casteism and bigotry pollutes the air of small town Rajasthan, which is collapsing under the violent influence of patriarchy DahadThe police process is diverse and important.
A social commentary and serial killer thriller rolled into one, the riveting eight-part web series from Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar is a complex study of human behavior and impulses at the root or the end of crime and chaos.
Serial killer stories often follow a formulaic template—one troubled individual, one traumatic childhood, one prey pattern, one little slip, and it’s game over.
As predictable as these machinations may be, Dahad penetrates the method to madness.
The identity of the perpetrator is never really a secret once the suspense is left behind.
What interests authors Kagti, Akhtar and Ritesh Shah is the execution and environment of an insane ghost.
A number of women from different parts of Rajasthan are found dead in a public toilet – each one deceived and killed in the same way, leading a certain police officer to believe that the mastermind behind all this evil is one and the same.
Sub-Inspector Anjali Bhaati’s (Sonakshi Sinha) curiosity, competence and caring for those who discriminate against her based on her caste make her a force to be reckoned with.
Bhaati’s impressive aura makes her a natural leader in the eyes of awed strangers. It’s only natural that they ask, “Madam.” aap ki Senior Hello Kya?‘
She enjoys the respect of her shrewd superior, Devilal Singh (Gulshan Devaiah), and frowns on the attentions of the elder Parghi (Sohum Shah), though there’s always a footman chowki Each time she passes, she hastens to burn some incense sticks, as if in a purification ritual, and makes clear how the casteist mentality replaces professional hierarchy within a constitutional system.
Most importantly, it’s about how the personal and professional lives of these three police officers, as well as their interpersonal relationships, are intertwined.
Devi’s family life is not as progressive as he would like.
Parghi’s father-to-be is not comfortable with the idea of living in such a dark world.
Bhaati’s mother is desperately looking for suitors for her indifferent daughter.
In terms of work, it’s technically Parghi who has been around longer, but Bhaati’s seasoned skills make her indispensable to the team.
There is a grace and sensitivity in how Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti see life’s problems and try to solve them.
Where many would see their frictions as opportunities for cheap shots, Dahad sees it as a choice between rivalry and doing right.
Equally intriguing is the delicate relationship between role model, protégé and boss and junior that Devi and Bhaati share. She has his support, but there is no manipulation.
He is impressed by her fearless, fiercely independent zeal, but knows where to draw the line.
Dahad peeks into the intimate corners of this trio’s head, but never invades their privacy to enjoy their own thrills.
When we first meet them, trouble is brewing over missing Hindu girls and their alleged Muslim friends, blamed by politicians who chant slogans like “ghar ki beti ghar rahegi‘ chant hoarsely ‘Love Jihad’ and wield powerful weapons against the police in order to enforce ruthless judgment.
Along the way, another character story is brewing – of Anand Swarnakar (Vijay Varma), a Hindi literature professor who travels the region in his self-sufficient van, teaching underprivileged children for free.
As a hands-on father to his school-age son and an accommodating significant other to a woman (Zoa Morani can’t get beyond her wishy-washy) who works night shifts at a historic hotel, the warm nature of their relationship is what sets them apart Dahad has piqued our curiosity.
Anand’s trajectory Dahad runs almost parallel to that of Bhaati as two people navigating the extremes of class and morality.
Let’s put it this way without giving away any grim details or grim breakthroughs DahadThe immersive world is brought to life through dialogue writer Sumit Arora’s astute writing, Tanay Satam’s sensitive imagery, and the perfect cast.
Gulshan Devaiah’s quiet desperation at his domestic woes gently escalates into an organic outburst. But his clear approach to his professionalism reveals an unwavering work ethic.
The actor excels at striking a perfect work-home balance without ever breaking the harmony of the two.
Sohum Shah’s inner conflict isn’t as clear cut, but his understanding of Parghi’s insecurities is so seamless that what emerges is remarkably complex.
Vijay Varma is the flesh Dahad draws its strength from it. An actor of rare versatility and emotional depth, Varma’s ability to keep his audience guessing is a gift that keeps on giving.
‘poori HunterWali Hai‘ warns a subordinate.
Sonakshi Sinha’s tough, girly exterior lends itself well to the role of a no-nonsense cop, but it’s her stunning authority with which she puts people in their place, without any additions like boastful background music or slow-motion style, that makes her wonderfully dynamic and intimidating at the same time.
For those who have believed in their talent ever since Lootera, Dahad is a truly rewarding experience.
When Rani Mukerji balked at the idea of marriage hum tum> — ‘Jab tak ek aurat ki zindagi my ek aadmi nahi aata, uski zindagi safal nahi ho sakti?‘ — still applies to Sonakshi’s outrage two decades later Dahad.
When it comes to limiting a woman’s worth to marriage and relentlessly pressuring her to do so, things are no different for an independent, privileged, upper-caste NRI or a lower-caste woman of modest means.
Bhaati is perceptive enough to see why her constant outrage over issues of caste, dowry and age forces weak-willed women to lick up the first carrot that comes their way. Though it’s pretty handy that only these kinds of women succumb to the abuser’s charms, DahadThe nervous energy that comes with these exploits makes it work.
The long form allows room for character development, but also leaves room for slow pacing and logical gaps.
Much DahadThe storylines hang loose, while the backstory of the big reveal never comes to a satisfying conclusion.
Though the end result is a whimper rather than a roar, Dahad achieves a lot thanks to a nuanced script and differentiated sound reproduction.
Dahaad streams on Amazon Prime Video.
Dahad Review Rediff Rating: