There are a great many web series and movies these days centred on crime, patriarchy and the brutality prevalent in North India, but few, if any, have managed to tap into these dynamics so vividly while also weaving an edge-of-the-seat thriller around them that leaves us as infuriated at the shocking reality as it grips you with a tense story, littered with one twist after another that you never see coming. For these two reasons alone, Sony Liv’s new original web series, Undekhi, is worth pushing straight to the top of your watchlist. That it gives you several more brilliant reasons to savour it, pushes it right to the upper echelons of Indian OTT content.
Scroll below to read my full Undekhi review…
What’s it about
Borrowing the basic concept from a harrowing true incident, Undekhi revolves around an adivasi girl shot dead while dancing at a wedding in Manali, Himachal Pradesh, after she refuses the repeated attempts of the groom’s father to act fresh with her. An outstation cameraman who records the entire event then gets caught in the deadly crosshairs between the self-entitled, toxic, murderous groomsmen, aided by the corrupt indigenous police force, unaided by his fellow, helpless video crew, and a seemingly honest cop from Bengal who, coincidentally, appears at the right place at the right time to arrest said adivasi girl’s close friend, who was also dancing at the same wedding. Things get more complicated when the bride of said wedding party learns of the truth later on.
Undekhi is the kind of web series that makes you addicted, makes you angry, keeps you hooked, keeps you on edge, leaves you awestruck and leaves you panting for more all at once. It’s biggest achievement lies in how self aware it is of the toxic masculinity, septic patriarchy, ingrained entitlement and blatant disregard for the law in certain parts of India, yet not once preaching or shoving these experiences down our throat, opting instead to shrewdly exploit these very evil elements into weaving a taut, nail-biting, totally unpredictable thriller around them, which keeps you guessing to the very end and leaves you dejected all but once — when the final episode is over.
This is one of those rare shows where you wise there were more episodes to enjoy as the finale will make it unbearable to watch for the next season. And the credit for all this has to go to the fantastic writing team of Siddharth Sengupta (also the creator), Mohinder Pratap Singh, Umesh Padalkar and Varun Badola (yes, the famous TV actor) as also Ashish Shukla’s crackerjack direction and Rajesh Pandey’s crisp editing. At just ten episodes of about half an hour each, Undekhi is seriously pacy without ever having to compromise on its narrative of character arcs. Murzi Pagdiwala’s camerawork, Anindita Somitra Chaturvedi’s set design and the background score by Anuj Dandit and Shivam Sengupta also work wonders in lending the right tone and texture to the series.
Now, let’s talk about the stupendous performances. Despite comprising a cast of relative newcomers and/or names that aren’t so well-known, the actors more than make up for what they lack in brand value with sheer dedication and a willingness to wholeheartedly surrender to the script. Apeksha Porwal, Ayn Zoya, Ankur Rathee, Abhishek Chauhan, Anchal Singh, Vaarun Bhagat all seamlessly transform into their character and feed of the two veterans of the snow, Harsh Chhaya and Dibyendu Bhattacharya, who are top notch from start to end. However, the show stealer, scenery chewer and shining star has got to be Surya Sharma who’s so wonderfully vile that it makes you boiling mad every second he’s in the frame.
Very little to crib about in Undekhi, other for minor instances like a scene or two demanding a certain suspension of disbelief or a couple of plot contrivances conveniently transpiring. And these would probably bother only those few who find prefer their entertainment with a penchant for being deeply critical.
DO NOT!! DO NOT!!! DO NOT…Under any circumstances, MISS the new gem of a webseries called Undekhi. It may not be flawless, but it sure as hell is damn near being it. I’m going with 4.5/5 stars.