I am really scratching my head in wonder…..have the age old saas-bahu differences in Indian society been resolved, that desi TV has now more or less abandoned this once gold-minting genre for supernatural shows and fantasies? The success of Naagin and Bahubali seem to have set this process in motion.
In a FPC (TV programming chart) full of naagins and daayans, add one more of the latter, called Manmohini (Zee).
Producer Prateek Sharma (LSD films), who had earlier made the Sony romantic thriller, Ek Deewana Tha, has taken ahead his passion for the genre of thriller and horror. Yes, you have a Rajasthan-based haveli, which a royal family has abandoned for centuries due to a sexy, cleavage-showing daayan, Mohini (Reyhna Malhotra, of Ishqbaaz fame). She looks hot even at 500.
Again, no prizes for guessing that it will be the estranged bahu, Siya (Garima Singh Rathore), who will fight the evil to protect her suhaag, Ram (Ankit Siwach).
Any Rajasthani backdrop tale is incomplete without a daayi maa; enter, Devki (Vandana Pathak), who holds fort against the daayan. This mere mortal is shown to be 150 years old.
A brooding Ram comes to India to win back his estranged wife, who is shown in the first scene to threaten God that if her happiness is shattered, she will bring havoc to all. We wonder how her goodness gets justified in this scene!!
Ram is then waylaid by the daayan, who shape shifts into the murdered driver, bringing him to Behramgarh. As a quirk of fate, Siya too is in Rajasthan, and rushes to save her husband on the request of Ram’s grandmother (Neetu Mohindra).
Mohini orchestrates another accident, putting Ram into coma, but yes, wife’s pyaar brings him back. One more thing we don’t get is if Ram air dashes to India to convince his better half to stay on, why does he still want her out. Guess the coming track will explain all this. On the other hand, Mohini will use her charm and powers to snare him.
To add human greed, we have Ram’s stepmother and stepbrother. The sexy-looking mom (Vaishali Nazreth) is not acceptable to the granny, for she had remarried her son. The former is more bothered about her looks than her stepson’s health. She also belittles Siya for all the wrong stuff that has happened to the family.
Interestingly, her other son, Vivian (Abhimanyu Choudhary), seems to have a hidden agenda to keep his stepbro alive, and for that he is even ready to break bread with the devil.
Despite a very hackneyed plot, we must say that the makers have kept the pace very fast. You do get hooked, wanting to find out more and why. Also, the CG is very good, raising the bar of desi horror.
We are waiting for all hell to break loose, to see the devil in her worst form.
The cinematography is also spot-on, with the vast empty desert spaces creating the fear needed, to take the tale forward. The sand dunes also make for beautiful visuals; we were already tired of seeing Mumbai, Delhi, Bhopal and other heartland towns.
Coming to acting, we give full marks to Reyhna for playing the daayan perfectly, bringing out the evil and pathos (when she hurt herself for accidentally hurting Ram) with élan. The way the story is progressing, we are sure many will be batting for Mohini as well. She does love Ram; it is no small feat to wait for someone for half a century.
As GEC TV goes further rural, it has become imperative to speak in the local Hindi dialects. Hence, Devki and Mohini converse in Rajasthani, thereby giving their rooted characters a more realistic touch. Also, this enables local folklore to go national.
The love between the couple is very strong, which is shown via romantic scenes. Ankit does have a good upper body, which he sashays with élan. He is apt for the role of Ram and plays his role well. We were wondering, with changing dynamic, could they have also made good bahu Siya look more glamorous? The on-screen chemistry is raised a bar by playing hit Bollywood numbers in the background. Garima looks good in her role; we await to see more of her.
The biggest challenge for the makers is what different supernatural devices to employ to hold the attention of the viewer who is anyways spoiled for choice with a host of similar shows.
Finally, what will separate the grain from the chaff will be classy content, maybe not unique, but crafted with a heart. Let’s see if Manmohini wins hearts for its concept and story line. The beginning looks good and we look forward to the thrill to grow big!!
We at IWMBuzz.com give Manmohini 3 out of 5 stars.