Dahaad review: An exceptionally performed crime thriller juxtaposed with social issues has too much on its mind
What: Dahaad- Sonakshi Sinha’s OTT debut is exceptionally performed, juxtaposed with social issues and having too much going on in its mind, the Reema Kagtgi, Ruchika Oberoi directed series lacks the sweeping arc.
Dahaad web series synopsis
Anjali Bhaati (Sonakshi Sinha) investigates a series of deaths where women are found dead in public bathrooms. The death first appears as suicides but as the investigation progresses, Bhaati realises that there's a serial killer on the loose.
Dahaad is a show were the issues addressed – gender bias, prejudice, caste divide, religious divide, sex education, comment on the institution of marriage, extra martial affairs, dowry system, narrow mindedness, are more glaring and dangerous than the antagonist.
I agree that the issues are relevant important and does affect our society. A certain subtle mention could have delivered the message at crucial points but the over indulgence of the said righteousness on the makers part spoils the thrilling chill quotient of this smart operator Anand Swarnakar (Vijay Varma).
Anand Swarnakar is a Hindi teacher at schools in Rajasthan. A married man with a child aged eleven/ twelve years., Anand Swarnakar belongs to a upper caste Sonar (goldsmiths) family and targets vulnerable middle aged unmarried women from the interiors of Rajasthan belonging to lower class. Bogged by dowry and other demands the girls who are not that beautiful by looks remain unmarried and on finding some attention, care and affection from Anand Swarnarkar they get wooed by this predator who on pretext of getting married gets into physical relationship with them, the next morning these women are found dead in a public toilet.
What has happened in Dahaad is an old mistake that Bollywood often repeats, were mentioning/commenting on issues is considered equivalent to addressing them.
If this would have been a social drama, it would have worked better. It’s not that Dahaad is a badly made web series, its well-crafted, brilliantly acted.
Sonakshi Sinha in her OTT debut nails it. Sonakshi’s best after Akira.
Vijay Varma as Anand Swarnakar is charmingly menacing.
Gulshan Devaiah as Devi Lal Singh senior of Soankshi Sinha is brilliant.
Sohum Shah as Kailash Parghi who feels side lined by Soanshi Sinha in his job comes with different approach and delivers an outstanding performance.
Zoa Morani as Vandana Swarnakar – the wife of Anand who is having an extra martial affair is very impressive.
The casting is perfect, after the popular faces, the castings of those middle-aged women are diligently done. The lingo, language is apt.
Cinematography by Yogi Sankotra and Tanay Satam is exceptional, they capture the vast landscapes of Rajasthan vividly during the day and night.
The production design by Shailaja Sharma, Abhijeet Shreshth, Roshan Vichare is authentic.
Music by Gaurav Raina and Tarana Marwa is apt. the background especially deserves mention. The sound by Neeraj Gera sets the tempo whenever required. Editing by Anand Subaya adopts a slow burner approach.
What I found frustrating about Dahaad is the gyanbaazi and getting social/political every now and then. Dahaad does injustice to its antagonist by throwing light on other more stronger evils. But still it will find its takers.
Apart from the amazing performances and technical wizardry, the direction of Reema Kagtgi, Ruchika Oberoi is really nuanced and has the slow burner approach almost only during the last episode, the pace gets lazy. Length can never be an issue otherwise greatest blockbusters like Sholay, The God Father, Gone With The Wind, Mughal E Azam etc would have been flopped.
The tone of Dahaad is realistic. The metaphoric title is also a plus. Devi Lal Singh’s nagging wife is an irritating character same as Sonakshi’s Mom.
Anyways, I didn’t digest that not a single female victim had any objection when Anand took their pictures on that fateful night. why no one from those twenty-eight victims protested over having that pill.
If you are looking for a tight crime thriller then Dahaad has more serious things to offer. It’s well-crafted and exceptionally performed only thing is that the agendas – social issues over here get unnecessarily repetitive and carries to many things on its head. Dahaad premieres on Amazon Prime Video from May 12, 2023 onwards.