With most films not doing well, and TV show ratings also going down south, is web the new savior?
Well, producer-director Vikram Bhatt certainly seems to think so, for, he is really going all out on digital content. After Twisted, Maaya and the ongoing Tantra and Spotlight 2, he has now come up with a court-room drama, Untouchables. The first of this 15-episode series, starring TV actor Sreejita De, has gone live on YouTube. You can binge watch on the Bhatt’s app: VB Theatre on the Web.
The story moves quickly- a surgeon-intern, Natasha Narang (Sreejita), moonlights as an escort. However, she finds her client dead the next morning. It is not classic Bhatt- full of sex- for Sreejita is shown fully dressed after a night with her favorite customer. Interestingly, she decides to quit this shameful life, and her madam has no issues (something that does not normally happen).
Sreejita shows sparks of brilliance right up front. We can feel her fear when she is running away from the five-star hotel crime scene. Wiping the blood stains from her dress is another killer shot.
Natasha is quickly picked up by the cops, as predicted by Akash Arya (Vikram himself), a lawyer with some mental quirks. Interestingly, Sreejita’s brother, Anirudh Dave, works for him.
The story is set up for a gripping drama, with the required twists and turns. Natasha’s fiancé will have a tough time when he comes to know of her nocturnal deeds. Her rep is already in tatters, as she is picked up by the cops from the hospital where she interns. If the show works, guess Vikram might have a new career– acting– as the entire narrative seems to be based on him.
This series is being directed by Vikram’s daughter Krishna Bhatt. Her pedigree can be seen in her work; like father, like daughter.
The scene towards the end of the first episode, when Natasha begs the female cop for light in her detention room and is humiliated for being an escort, is touching.
Vikram has made all the 15 episodes available on his app for a token sum. He should have at least offered the first 3 episodes free on the app, to whet viewers’ appetites. For obviously, the court-room drama can’t start from the first episode itself. Any long-running story, however good, needs at least a quarter of the episodes to pick up tempo, and once you have succeeded, then people won’t mind paying to binge-watch.
The camera work and shot-taking is quite taut, and just what the doctor ordered for thrillers. As time passes, more back stories of all the characters should unravel. Vikram’s character will really stand out, given his issues. If it was a TV serial, we could have guessed who was right and who was wrong. But luckily, web characters are not clearly defined, and we have been shocked before, so will not hazard a guess, this time around.
Web gives TV actors like Sreejita and Anirudh, an opportunity to come out of the TV bracket and play different kind of characters.
Based on what we saw, thriller-lovers should check out Untouchables, for Vikram is known for the genre. Expect high-octane moments.
Having said that, Vikram is more known for horror, though his latest scare-flick 1921, did not spook the Box Office. His last TV show, Dil Sambhal Jaa Zara, also did not see high ratings. We sure hope that Untouchables becomes big. There has been lots of talk about how popular Maaya and his other web products have been, but he has not yet come out with any hard-core numbers. YouTube does boast of big views, but there is no template to measure it yet, either.
We would rate it 3.5 out of 5 stars.