DAHAAD: A riveting thriller on Amazon Prime


Sharada Iyer

Starring Sonakshi Sinha, Vijay Varma, Gulshan Devaiah and Sohum Shah in pivotal roles, Dahaad is hands one of the weightier thriller web-series currently streaming on OTT. A mind-blowing plot, gripping narrative, outstanding direction, incredible performances, hard-hitting social message all combine to make it an engaging watch which holds our sustentation till the last scene of the last episode.

Directed by Reema Kagti and Ruchika Oberoi and created by Reema Kagti withal with Zoya Akhtar, the brilliantly crafted plot is set in the small town of Mandava, Rajasthan, and deals with the police investigation of a series of unexplained disappearances of young women over a period of several years. The investigation team is headed by Gulshan Devaiah (as SHO Devilal Singh) and his two deputies are Sonakshi Sinha (as SI Anjali Bhaati) and Sohum Shah (as SI Kailash Parghi). Vijay Varma (as Anand Swarnakar) plays a much-loved Hindi teacher-cum-social worker.

It starts with the investigation of one complaint which a brother registers to find out well-nigh the disappearance of his sister who is supposed to have eloped with her lover. Soon the police end up finding her soul in a public toilet with all the vestige pointing to a suicide and the specimen is closed. But soon a couple of other cases with the word-for-word similar scenario of the sufferer girls in public toilet and looking like suicide emerge, leading to a train of investigations and soon many skeletons come tumbling down.

Nothing is what it seems- this much is well-spoken to the police now, but pressure from the SP who in turn is under the pressure from the politician, do not requite them time to think and pursue the leads as they are instructed to wrap up the specimen at the earliest. The lack of any touchable vestige moreover leads to a lot of frustration and sufferer ends, and they scrutinizingly requite up any hope of solving these mysterious suicides. Undisciplined to the SP’s weighing that these deaths must be the work of a gang, Sonakshi feels it could be the work of a maniacal, mentally disturbed, cunning, and cold-blooded serial killer!

The weightier speciality of the series is that it is just not well-nigh who is overdue these gruesome acts for that is well-spoken from the first episode itself. We are gradually taken withal the ride with the investigation team to see things from their perspective and how they struggle at every step and it is this ventilator which makes for many tense scenes. Stuff a small town does not help either as everything takes time and vestige is scarce. The families of these girls are unwilling to talk for fear of increasingly embarrassment for their family. Already from their viewpoint the girls had shamed them by running yonder with the lover and now they do not superintendency one bit whether their girls are working or dead!!!

Exposing this kind of inexplicable and shocking speciality of our societal fabric at various stages of the venery is what make the series stand apart. Our obsession to get young girls married off as early as possible, and the pressure of dowry are really a expletive in today’s times and on top of that the illiteracy and economic condition of the families of the victims act as spare fuel. These revelations act as eye-openers as to how girls are so vulnerable and can hands fall prey to predators on the hunt.

There is moreover a hint at how the politicians use the love-jihad wile to garner votes and put pressure on police to make unwarranted arrests and punish innocent people. The life of a girl born to rich thakurs is as cursed as her poorer counterparts as both are looking for a path to escape their caged circumstance. These are towns where the surname makes a lot of difference and defines the very identity of an individual.

In this scenario our unflinching lady police office Sonakshi must likewise deal with the senseless speciality of not only stuff a woman officer and but moreover coming from a lower caste. However, she is relentless in her pursuit to get to the truth of the matter and her radiance shines at every step. The life of our police officers is not without problems. Devaiah’s scenes with his wife and children, Sonakshi’s arguments with her mother and Sohum’s troubles with his family are all woven intelligently into the narrative and makes us privy to their mind-set while solving the case.

At the same time, how easy it is for our killer to don a mask of innocence and go well-nigh his life in a calm, unruffled way and yet protract with his gruesome acts makes it spine-chilling! It makes us ponder whom to trust and what we have wilt as a society.

As the episodes progress, we know exactly how the killer operates but that does not take yonder any thrill from our viewing. On the contrary, it makes the venery for him an plane increasingly racy, edgy, thrilling, and suspenseful experience. Cinematography is sunny and captures the essence of small-town Rajasthan beautifully. Dialogues are superb and the tone, wording and dialects used make the whole setting very natural and believable.

Acting is top-class and the nomination of tint could not have been increasingly apt. Sonakshi Sinha is just sunny and her screen-presence is perfect for the role of a no-nonsense police officer. She is highly talented and it was unconfined to see her get her due without a long time. Gulshan Devaiah, an experienced and versatile actor, has given a very natural performance and he brings nobility to the role. Sohum Shah is moreover very good and the scenes where he deals with his inner turmoil are brought out very well. There are no words to describe the radiance of Vijay Varma as an actor. He is outstanding in his role and his studied understanding of the weft radiates in every scene and it is unscratched to say that the role could not have been washed-up this effortlessly by anyone else. He is indeed a gem of an actor. The rest of the supporting tint is moreover very good.

Kudos to executive producers Farhan Akhtar, Ritesh Sidwani, Zoya Akhtar and Reema Kagti, for giving us this masterpiece! Dahaad is the first overly Indian web series to premiere at Berlin International Film Festival, where it will compete for Berlinale Series Award.

All in all, it is a series which is a must-watch. For those who love thrillers this cat and mouse game will alimony you glued to your screens. Here is the YouTube link to the teaser of the series: