Dahaad| Cast: Sonakshi Sinha, Gulshan Devaiah, Vijay Varma and Sohum Shah | Creator: Reema Kagti and Ruchika Oberoi | Hindi | Prime Video
She doesn’t smile, keeps her spine straight even when her seniors leer at her, retaliates with aggression when boys harass her, and is unmoved by slights about her caste. Sonakshi Sinha plays a sub-inspector in a remote village in Rajasthan and she slowly pieces together random disappearances to uncover a heinous series of crimes. This is not a whodunnit. But like the best of British procedurals, recalling Unforgotten and Broadchurch, it is a stripping down of the moral sickness that plagues society. The men have not been taught to express their sexuality in a healthy way, their fathers being the worst examples. The women are just lonely and yearning for attention. Added to that is the pressure of marriage, on both sexes, and the parental expectations of social mobility and financial gain that comes with it. Sonakshi Sinha plays Anjali Bhaati, a young woman who refuses to do what is expected of her. Gulshan Devaiah is her boss, while Sohum Shah is the unhappy, naturally subservient and bent officer. What monsters do we live with, what masks do our near and dear ones wear, and how has technology scarred an already arid landscape where perversion blooms instead of love, and violence breeds instead of compassion. How a little kindness can shatter the strongest of fences and melt the iciest of hearts. And what happens when that is nothing but a front, a betrayal, the work of a careful psychopath?
Why Watch it: Rajasthan is in fashion in the web space, its arid vista adding to the horrors in its feudal DNA. And Sonakshi Sinha in a career-best performance
A Very Royal Garden Party
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story | Cast: India Amarteifio, Corey Mylchreest | Director: Shonda Rhimes English | Netflix
Ladies, ladies. Those of a certain age who cannot bring themselves to use anatomical references when talking about sex, never fear, Queen Charlotte, the prequel to Bridgerton is here. And it’s just as multi-racial and racy as the first two seasons, with an entirely new phrase for sexual gratification: the need for women to be gardened. Not only does one have the pleasurable sight of the extremely dignified Lady Danbury and Lady Violet Bridgerton speaking of the need to be gardened, but it has young Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz doing some serious planting of her own, even as the young and delicious King George III slips further into madness. Only it’s not quite called that—a disorganisation of nerves, an excess of ill humour in the legs and an inflamed cerebellum, anything except what it is, a psychological affliction. There’s a lot of gobbledygook that is meant to pass off as science, which tells us how far we’ve come in being less cruel to each other in the name of cure—bleeding the young king, stinging him with poisonous beetles, bruising his legs with tourniquets. There is a lot of back and forth of timelines, beautiful gowns which magically come undone, a lot of heavy breathing solo and in pairs, and enough New Age feminism to keep the women happy. Finally our stories are being told, finally we are no longer invisible, finally we can be more than mere showpieces. Yes, yes, now can we cut to the gardening please?
Why watch it? For the spirited young royal couple who look good with and without their voluminous clothes
Gitanjali Aiyar (1947-2023): Poise and Perfection Kaveree Bamzai
‘India needs to look at water, climate problems closely,’ says Joyeeta Gupta Ullekh NP
The Yaksha Who Deserves More Attention Aritra Ghosh