Dhootha(Tamil, Prime Video)
Starring Naga Chaitanya Akkineni, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Prachi Desai, Priya Bhavani Shankar
Directed by Vikram K Kumar
Rating: *** ½
In this reasonably chilling shiver giver,Naga Chaitanya who plays hotshot journalist Sagar Varma has a pet dog named Aye. The explanation for the weird name is, his daughter has not been able to decide on a proper name for the canine. Hence,the abbreviated semi-name. Later Sagar’s little daughter decides on a name—Hippopotamus—for the dog.
But by then it is dead.RIP.
This could have been a mirthful macabre little anecdote in the eight-episode Dhootha(which means messenger). The series is chilling at times, and rather offputting in its illogicality at other times. Watching Dhootha we must keep the one truth about horror shows in mind: they don’t always make sense and the final explanations and roundup of the blood-dimmed tide doesn’t have to be completely satisfactory.
Having taken these precautionary measures under consideration, I quite enjoyed the mix of mystery, mayhem and occultism, though the characters don’t show any kind of consistency in their occupancy of frightening plot twists .
There is plenty to be said about ethics in journalism including a shocker finale where a corrupt politician get bludgeoned to death at a public function(a smashing end).All of this doesn’t cohere into a rounded statement. Nonetheless there are moments and interludes in every episode where director Vikram K Kumar has us startled, and if not that, at least attentive and curious to know where the plot is leading to.
By the last episode, the series is fully into the slasher mode with Sagar’s pregnant wife Priya(Priya Bhavani Shankar) being hounded by an assassin who has revenge in his eyes and a knife in his hand.
A deadly combination. But before we get there, there are miles to go. The series is better paced than some of the other recent thrillers including Shaher Lakhot this week which made us plead for the flow of blood to stop.
Dhootha has some interesting characters who tie together the past and present in an unholy alliance.
The production values are better than most recent serials.During the endless night and rain sequences we can actually see the characters through the haze. Sadly the talented cerebral actress Parvathy Thiruvothu plays a cop named Kranthi, probably in keeping with the actress’ off and onscreen image. But there is nothing even remotely revolutionary about her role. Is this what the OTT has reduced Parvathy to?
Poor Prachi Desai, still pretty and pert, plays the hero’s colleague and secret squeeze. Embarrassing to say the least, for the veteran actress.
The central characters remains Naga Chaitanya , and he sinks his teeth into the eerie tale of scraps of newspaper blowing into his purview, making doomsday prophecies in his life. This one-liner gets nearly eight hours of elaboration that never gets dull even when the violent streak in the plot gets messy and uncontrollable.