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Award winning writer Juhi Chaturvedi (Piku) and Director Tanuja Chandra (Qarib Qarib Singlle) manage to mess up web series Hush Hush. What happened?!
I had been eagerly waiting for Amazon Prime’s web series, Hush Hush (2022) to release this month for reasons ranging from it being promoted as a female centric show and it marking the comeback of promising actors like Juhi Chawla and Soha Ali Khan.
However, the seven episode long mystery turned out to be a disappointment.
It was a dragged and exaggerated show that could neither pass as a cop drama like the films of the Mardaani franchise (2014-2019) nor a female buddy series like Four More Shots Please! (2019-Present) nor a thriller like Kahaani (2012).
Since it completely misses its point when it comes to building an engaging suspense and delivering a strong social message, here are 5 reasons (and a lament) behind the series being completely unwatchable.
*A few spoilers alert
The series begins with two children talking to each other in Bengali and suddenly takes a shift to completely random dialogue exchanges between different characters we know nothing about, all being carried out in an extremely non-contextual manner.
When the next scene comes on, the viewers are left wondering who those children were and why they were even introduced in the first scene. One gets some clarity about who’s who only halfway through the series, but even then a lot of conversations between the characters seem overstretched.
In one scene, an inspector is shown questioning a character named Meera (Ayesha Jhulka) about the crimes enabled by her and all the responses given by her seem to be in riddles. Meera’s inconclusive answers are followed by a recollection before which she talks about her friend of hers paying her a visit. However, her friend, Ishi (Juhi Chawla) doesn’t enter the scene for another ten minutes. This only causes a feeling of impatience in the viewers, but again, nothing can be fast forwarded because the makers of the series attempted to create a mystery in which every dialogue needs to be heard.
The narration seems unclear throughout the series and it is difficult to understand what sequence the makers are trying to follow. Dialogues suggesting past recollections are unsymmetrically followed by scenes that don’t support the previous ones. Furthermore, there are random shifts from one scene to the other without any proper reasoning.
Thus, by the time the series comes to an end, the viewer is left confused about why it had started with two little girls, if both of them weren’t even the main focus in the story, even later?
My question is this: if the makers wanted to create a mystery, then why was there so much backstory given about all the supporting characters? Why is it important for the viewer to know that Dolly has a nagging mother-in-law, Saiba left her journalism career and Zaira is a bossy fashion designer?
The reason Made In Heaven (2019-Present) and Paatal Lok (2020) followed different styles of narration was because they had distinct genres, target audiences, and the impact they wished to create on the viewers. If the makers of Hush Hush were trying to create a Paatal Lok, then trying to fit Made In Heaven into it only led to a disappointing creation.
Who is telling the story and why is their perspective necessary for the viewer? If Ishi (Juhi Chawla) has invited a man over to her place to discuss business and that is important for the plot, why is it relevant for anyone to know that she’d had a fight with Saiba (Soha Ali Khan) just before the man parked his car in her garage? In that scene, the point of view aimlessly shifts from Ishi’s to Saiba’s to Zaira’s (Shahana Goswami).
In multiple such scenes, it is impossible to understand why it is needed for one to hear the story that Dolly’s (Kritika Kamra) father-in-law’s mother had told him when he was a child, or why we need to watch Geeta (Karishma Tanna) argue with her mother about her work.
There are numerous characters in the series who simply seem to be added in it to increase the running time of each episode.
One such character is that of a man who follows Saiba and her family for multiple episodes for a reason known only to the makers. His chapter gets over when he is killed eventually. But, then, if he had to get killed, why was he given so much screen time? Also, who was he and why was he following Saiba?
Another tangential subplot involves Saiba’s son, Zayn, getting obsessed with the death of one of the main characters…he’s a child! Even that doesn’t add any value to the larger storyline.
Geeta speaks in an accent that is neither Haryanvi nor Punjabi nor Rajasthani. There are times when she speaks Hindi like a Delhi-ite and right after that, one comes to know that she is definitely a Mumbaikar. She tries really hard to talk like Chandramukhi Chautala from FIR (2006-2015) and Shivani Shivaji Roy from Mardaani (2014), but fails miserably.
Why couldn’t the makers teach her a proper accent or simply caste someone else who could do justice to her character?
Any Bollywood buff would any day applaud Juhi Chaturvedi for the masterpieces she breathed life into. And it is difficult to digest the fact that someone who wrote the screenplay for films like Vicky Donor (2012), Piku (2015) and the dialogues for Gulabo Sitabo (2020) could have anything to do with Hush Hush.
Let’s also not forget that even the director of the series, Tanuja Chandra has previously done a good job directing films like Qarib Qarib Singlle (2017). Thus, how did this powerful duo go so drastically wrong this time?
A dysgraphic writer who spends most of their time watching (and thinking about) Bollywood films. read more...
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Rajshri Deshpande, who played the fiery protagonist in Trial by Fire along with Abhay Deol speaks of her journey and her social work.
Rajshri Deshpande as the protagonist in ‘Trial by Fire’, the recent Netflix show has received raving reviews along with the show itself for its sensitive portrayal of the Uphaar Cinema Hall fire tragedy, 1997 and its aftermath.
The limited series is based on the book by the same name written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost both their children in the tragedy. We got an opportunity to interview Rajshri Deshpande who played Neelam Krishnamoorthy, the woman who has been relentlessly crusading in the court for holding the owners responsible for the sheer negligence.
Rajshri Deshpande is more than an actor. She is also a social warrior, the rare celebrity from the film industry who has also gone back to her roots to give to poverty struck farming villages in her native Marathwada, with her NGO Nabhangan Foundation. Of course a chance to speak with her one on one was a must!
“What is a woman’s job, Ramesh? Taking care of parents-in-law, husband, children, home and things at work—all at the same time? She isn’t God or a superhuman."
The arrays of workstations were occupied by people peering into their computer screens. The clicks of keyboard keys were punctuated by the occasional footsteps moving around to brainstorm or collaborate with colleagues in their cubicles. Most employees went about their tasks without looking at the person seated on either side of their workstation. Meenakshi was one of them.
The thirty-one-year-old marketing manager in a leading eCommerce company in India sat straight in her seat, her eyes on the screen, her fingers punching furiously into the keys. She was in a flow and wanted to finish the report while the thoughts and words were coming effortlessly into her mind.
Natu-Natu. The mellifluous ringtone interrupted her thoughts. She frowned at her mobile phone with half a mind to keep it ringing until she noticed the caller’s name on the screen, making her pick up the phone immediately.
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