Circa 2019: The Indian web space explodes with the release of compelling web series, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. OTT platforms in India are caught up in a desperate race to grab maximum eyeballs and outdo each other in the storytelling department.
Also circa 2019: A behemoth called Zee5 is caught in a downward spiral into a bottomless abyss of mediocrity in terms of its content philosophy. Case in point its latest release, Bhoot Purva. We, at IWMBuzz, decided to review the series for the sake of our readers, and believe us when we tell you, we had a tough time going past the first few episodes. At a time when the online space in India is growing exponentially, and audiences are being treated to high quality web series, it’s quite surprising that Zee5 would want to take audiences for granted by coming up with ill-conceived, meaningless shows such as Bhoot Purva.
You may think we’re unduly harsh in the aforementioned statement regarding Zee5. But then, often times, harsh words will do the trick that gentle nudging will not. When Zee5 launched in the beginning of 2018, it immediately set a high benchmark, both for itself and for other OTT platforms, with a repertoire of quality web shows such as Table No 5, Zero Kilometres, and the seminal Rangbaaz.
Soon after, however, Zee5 seemed to have lost the plot with a succession of mediocre shows. The OTT platform seems to have sacrificed quality at the altar of quantity. Yes, in their misplaced quest for releasing a multitude of shows, Zee5 has failed to pay heed to the holy grail of entertainment success – high quality, compelling content that is worth its while.
It’s time the powers that be at Zee5 pull up their socks and keep a sharp eye on the quality of the content they’re churning out with such astonishing frequency.
To come back to the show at hand, Bhoot Purva is a ten-part web series, produced by Friday to Friday Entertainment and directed by Zeishan Quadri.
It is the story of Aarav (Rishabh Chadha), an orphaned collegian, who’s in love with his classmate, Angelina (Zoa Morani). He woos her with a fake bottle of poison, threatening, in true filmy style, to kill himself if she doesn’t say yes to his proposal. A grave error on the part of the too-busy-for-his-own-good Yamraj (Baba Sehgal) causes him to lose his life. The goofy Yamraj is supposed to take the life of another guy, but takes away our young hero instead. When Yamraj realizes his mistake, he gives just one lifeline to Rishabh that will allow him to get his life and his girl back.
Bhoot Purva is a poorly conceived, shabbily written piece of work that does nothing for its viewers
That lifeline is a young jobless lad named Purva (Omkar Kapoor, of Pyar Ka Punchnama 2 fame). Purva lives with his parents (Manu Rishi Chadha and Jayati Bhatia, making her web debut), who are quite miffed with his lack of ambition in life.
In the meanwhile, Rishabh is stuck in limbo, living the life of a ghost, also called bhoot in Hindi. That’s how the show gets its name, from the combination of the two protagonists, Bhoot and Purva. Bhoot Purva is also the Hindi term for past tense, or that which has occurred in the past. The name of the show is thus an interesting play on the two words.
That, however, is the only good thing about this show. About the rest, the less said the better. The dialogues are ho-hum, the plot, hackneyed. And the singularly worst thing about the show is its casting. Zoa Morani is lacklustre, Rishabh Chadha is uninspiring, while Omkar Kapoor looks as if he’s gotten the wrong set of dialogues by mistake and is trying to make the best of what he has by hamming his way through the episode. The biggest let-down is Baba Sehgal as Yamraj. His rap lacks the bite and wit of yore, while he comes across as a jaded and washed out version of his old self.
None of the ensemble cast merits a mention – yes, it’s that bad. Manu Rishi Chadha and Jayati Bhatia simply sleepwalk through their roles. That said, the fault isn’t in any of the actors’ calibre or devotion to their craft. The actual fault lies elsewhere. It lies in the writing. The writing is such a damp squib that none of the supposedly humorous dialogues elicit laughter. The gags aren’t funny, while the punchlines lack punch. A supposedly funny track, involving a dwarf, is downright disgusting and in very bad taste, if we may.
Bhoot Purva is a poorly conceived, shabbily written piece of work that does nothing for its viewers. Writing and story aside, the quality of production is nothing great either. In fact, to be utterly honest, it is quite poor.
To sum it up, Bhoot Purva is supposedly a horror comedy, but with zilch horror or comedy. Stay away from it. If you do decide to watch it, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
1.5/5 is our rating for Bhoot Purva.