Subhash K Jha reviews the Voot Select series Marzi. Read here.

Review of Voot Select series Marzi: An Arresting MeToo Flipflop

Starring Aahana Kumra, Rajeev Khandelwal

Directed by Anil Senior

Rating: ***(3 stars)

Close on the heels of the hefty MeToo film Guilty comes this 6-part series about a date rape with a difference. The couple here is not in its teens. The seemingly suave man Anurag Saraswat (Rajeev Khandelwal) is a single father with a teenage son. And the lady Sameera (Aahana Kumra) is no spring chicken either.

After what seems like a pleasant evening that may develop into something more, Sameera, all flustered and hysterical reaches the police station where she tells the disbelieving cops (Vivek Mushran and Pavleen Gujral) about what happened.Sameera has a history of mental stress and as we get to know later, she had accused another man of rape and then taken back her complaint.She may be delusional or whatever. But her rape allegation must be taken seriously and proven to be justified.

Initially, this seemed interesting. Are we finally getting to a point where the MenToo campaign gets a voice in the web of deception? No such luck!It’s going to be a long, long time before the male perception is represented in the sexual harassment debate.

Marzi starts off on a tantalizing did-he-did-he-not premise, and then gradually builds up into a guide on how to a nab a serial-offender. And the attempts to get the offender are not so great. There are some attempts to preserve a serious tone, for example, the humiliation suffered in school by the rape accused’s son, played by an interesting young actor Abhay Verma who played the young version of PM Narendra Modi in a biopic.

But here, the aim is to hold on to the audiences’ interest until the very end no matter how. In this endeavour, the plot takes some embarrassingly absurd twists and turns especially in the last episode when everything must tie up and justice must be served even if it is at the cost of plain common sense.

The absurdities apart, I must confess I kept watching till the end if only in the hope that perhaps the rape allegation would open up into a perfunctory debate on consent and coercion. Sadly two episodes into the plot the screenwriter Radhika Anand makes it very clear whose side she is on. There is no room for moral ambivalence here.

The performances are tailored to suit the mood of let’s-get-the-bastard crucifixion. I was quite kicked by the heroine’s sister’s husband babysitting his daughter and donning an apron and cooking in the kitchen while the wifey goes out to earn the bucks. Ah, the Alpha male in a series about the predatory Mr Right who spikes drinks and then….well aage ooparwale ki marzi.

Ah, not all men are rapists. But all rapists are men, right?

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