Is TV affliction with the bhootpret genre now spreading to the web as well? Quickly on the heels of Ragini MMS Returns (ALTBalaji) and Ghost Stories (Netflix), now Hungama Play (also streaming on MX Player) has come up with physiological/horror thriller Damaged 2, continuing with franchise theory of how crazy and debased the human mind can get.
The six episodes show opens with the talk of a legendary ghost who punishes wrongdoers. The setting is a home stay where a young guest girl goes missing.
The owner couple Gauri (Hina Khan) and Akash (Adhyayan Suman), have a lot of domestic problems, with the wife even taking to drugs.
In the initial episodes, Poorva (Aakanksha Kadre) seems to take away all the attention as the desperate mother in search of her child. Like several other single modern moms, she has no qualms of dating another man Manav (Sapan Gulati). Gauri seems oblivious to her suffering lost in her own zone.
Adhyayan is good as Akash bringing out his internal fears and complexes with élan. His stammering part was added down the road to reinforce his issues. He also has family baggage to boot (climax).
Rahul Singh also does an excellent job as the terminally ill investigative officer Deshraj, but honestly, his physical demeanor did not suit someone on his deathbed. While a TV audience might forgive such mistakes, will a discerning web audience also swallow it?
Then you have the Bangladeshi help Hemlata (Anjana Nathan) living illegally with her mentally challenged brother Sattu , CAA anyone ?
The plot thickens when an angry Poorva finds out that more local kids are missing, which Deshraj juniors were suppressing. This dovetails the myth that you need to sacrifice several kids to get the ghost of your back.
Along with the din of missing kids, the cops also find the body of a shrink who Gauri would consult for her mentally harried state.
The latter’s multi-layered character slowly comes into her own as the episodes pass by. Hina plays the angry, frustrated women to the T.
Without revealing the end, all we will say is that the 360-degrees twist to Gauri’s character again did not wash sans no justification given for the same. Though, the final repartee credited to Deshraj was the apt final nail in the coffin.
On the whole, the story is good, also given the fact that the episodes did not have a longer run length (15-17 minutes), it’s gripping enough to binge-watch.
The background score and taunt camera work also fit the thriller bracket.
Here, the makers (Ekant Babani) need to be supported, for they could have filled the canvas with a lot with sex and nudity as other makers do to get eyeballs, but they did not.
They also remained faithful to the psychological thriller genre, by keeping the horror part to the least, though you had the regular devices like the night scenes.
Hina also needs to be praised for accepting a role that does not present her glam avatar. She even did not mind Aakanksha Kadre taking away a lot of shine at first.
If this show does well, it should serve as a wake-up call for the industry to see the talent of Adhyayan, he’s too good (watch the climax). How the cops get the confession out of him was also fun.
Overall, 3 stars to the brave attempt.