Betaal – A Brave Mix
Review by – Gourav Srivastav
We as Indians haven’t seen much of a refined Zombie based movie or a show coming out from India other than the hilarious Go Goa Gone. It is encouraging to see a Zombie thriller set within Indian context and Folklore and is a good sign for Indian viewers to expect better things to come. The high production value and backing by Red Chilies Entertainment & Blumehouse Productions Betaal holds its ground on all technical aspects but falls slightly short due to lazy writing but decent performances.
The plot is interesting enough to keep you engaged until the end. It revolves around an age-old curse of the Betaal mountain where a high profile contractor wants to do some industrial projects by destroying a tunnel. The Tunnel apparently stands right at the pathway of the Betaal Mountain and holds a lot of secrets within the times of British Rule.
The first season lengths at one day with the battle between modern-day cops and a centuries-old British Indian Army officer with his zombie redcoats. This may sound interesting and has a lot of potentials to do break some grounds in the future but it misses the mark at some crucial points.
Watch the trailer of Betaal here:
Betaal as a web-series is at the top of the game when it comes to VFX, Cinematography, Sound design, etc. The feeling of constantly being surrounded and watched is excellently captured through some smart cinematography. The darker color tones is consistent and adds an extra layer of thrill for the viewers.
The VFX and make-up is top-notch and nothing like we have witnessed in Zombie based thrillers before. Adding to it is the excellent sound design which matches up to the high standards of the cinematography. From a small growl to an explosion to a march by the army of the dead, viewers can hear every single thing.
The performances by the actors are good at the max considering all of them are brilliant actors. Viineet Kumar does most of the heavy lifting as Officer Sirohi, a special task force officer leading the operations when things go out of hand. He delivers a honest performance but lacks passion at times. Aahana Kumra as DC ‘Ahu’ Ahluwalia is an interesting character who clearly knows what she is doing and matches well with the scope she gets.
Suchitra Pillai as the head of operations is confident, and menacing at times but not convincing considering her abilities as an actress. Jitendra Joshi deserves a mention as the extremely mean businessman who is ready to go to any lengths for his success.
Manjiri Pupala is the most convincing of the lot as Puniya, a tribal woman very much aware of the scenarios happening around her and comes out as a badass. Siddharth Menon as Nadir Haq excels at his part playing two extreme characters in one show and does well.
Betaal’s vision lies in its story where it has the potential to go much higher in all aspects by the next season arrives. It does go through some challenges at basic levels of writing and screenplay but the technical aspects hold its own and make it a convincing watch. There are sprinkles of funny one-liners & some extremely cheesy ones which may stick out like a sore thumb to many.
There are enough homage to the original Vikram-Betaal we have witnessed decades back and its good to find these Easter-eggs on your own.
Betaal is a brave attempt at this genre and we should give Kudos to Shah Rukh Khan for producing and being open to scripts like these and giving Indian creators a scope to showcase their capabilities.
THE CLIFFHANGER SETS SAIL FOR SOMETHING BIG. GO FIGURE.