Rating – ***1/2 (3.5/5)

To be thinking that the infamously famous Burari Deaths case spawned another adaptation in pop culture might sound monotonous but the makers of JioCinema’s show, Gaanth, Chapter 1: Jamnapaar are cognizant of the fact that this cannot be just another adaptation of what people already know. Instead, the novelty is on display right from the show’s premise itself where it deviates to two characters who find themselves attached to this mysterious occurrence in different ways.

The Characterisation & Setting

Review: 'Gaanth, Chapter 1: Jamnapaar' is a complex, dark tale of a famous case that dabbles in unexplored territories with finesse 899592

While the ensemble cast is as good as they can be, the show rests on the troubled shoulders of Inspector Gadar Singh (Manav Vij) who fights more demons than one can imagine. He is a furious alcoholic police inspector who is still good at his job and hence finds himself in the middle of investigating this case.

Continuing to be touted as one of the most underrated and under-utilised actors in the industry, Vij once again reminds us what he is capable of. Playing a character with innumerable layers, Vij is able to exhibit a huge gamut of emotions that are subtle when needed and loud when required.

Aiding him is Sakshi Murmu (played by Monika Panwar), a brilliant and gifted psychiatric intern who, while has this special gift also suffers from Savant syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental condition. Two troubled people with troubled lives investigating a troubled case – there is just way too much going on to miss out, and in a good way.

There is a constant eerieness to every frame of the show, and intentionally so, where the show even dabbles with the concept of occult science and black magic in a few instances, never overdoing it.

The Subtleties & Setting Things Up

Review: 'Gaanth, Chapter 1: Jamnapaar' is a complex, dark tale of a famous case that dabbles in unexplored territories with finesse 899591

A show like this needs to have a pace that pirouettes between urgency in a few instances while taking a step back when needed. This bodes well even more for its eight-episode long runtime and makes up for an intriguing viewing experience. The show is full of subtleties and explores itself best when keeping it low-key – for instance when the gruesome sight of an array of bodies is lined up in the house, everyone is visibly perturbed and gobsmacked by it, but it barely affects Gadar Singh. The show is also filled with visual metaphors across all the scenes which intensify the sequence setting you up even more perplexed, shocked and wanting-for-more.

The finale is obviously a cliffhanger where the show is titled ‘Chapter 1’, but it is always an uphill task to set a breaking point that justifies the mood and build-up. What this show does so well is having a cliffhanger that breaks away from the ruckus and hocus-pocus with a calm stop that fits so well into the world and leaves you satisfied.

Gaanth, Chapter 1: Jamnapaar is that OTT show for which was this streaming space was established for. A show, that needs your attention and deserves the plaudits but is at the risk of going unnoticed in the pool of content and bigger names that dominate otherwise.