PI Meena | Cast: Tanya Maniktala, Parambrata Chatterjee, Vinay Pathak Jisshu Sengupta | Director: Debaloy Bhattacharya | Hindi | Prime Video
Call it the Covid effect but we’re seeing an outbreak of contagion series. Shortly after Netflix’s Kaala Paani and SonyLIV’s The Jengaburu Curse comes PI Meena, where a desi Nancy Drew takes on a mysterious death that seems like an accident but is not. Played by Tanya Maniktala, PI Meena has a troubled past, losing her family in a car accident she blames herself for. As she hurtles from one mysterious death to another, she stumbles onto reports of a virus in the northeast. It’s a story no one wants to see out there. So naturally PI Meena gets even more suspicious, even as she continues to flirt lightly with a lawyer played with more than a hint of mischief by Parambrata Chatterjee. The series covers familiar ground—dumping of nuclear waste, contaminated water, strange deaths, and the corruption of the tribal way of life. It often deploys heavy handed flashbacks to emphasise the backstory but manages to bring all the strands together well in time. Maniktala is emerging as a woman all too capable of shouldering a series, as she showed in Tooth Pari, also coincidentally based in Kolkata.
Why Watch it? Smartly written bio terror series, with an efficient ensemble cast. What’s not to like?
All the Epigrams You Want To Hear
All the Light We Cannot See | Cast: Aria Mia Loberti, Louis Hofmann, Hugh Laurie, Mark Ruffalo | Director: Shawn Levy | English | Netflix
It is Saint-Malo in France in the 1940s, and the Germans are committing atrocities on its residents; pointing guns, grimacing, speaking in faux English accents. Based on the book by Anthony Doerr set during World War II, it is about a blind French girl and a blond German boy who meet over radio frequencies and fall in love. Uniting them is Uncle Etienne (Hugh Laurie) who broadcasts troop details so the Allies know what and when to attack. There is a lovely film based on these three but the series’ canvas is vast, and must include a Nazi officer searching for a cursed diamond which he believes will cure his cancer, the blind girl’s father who works in a museum, and other occupants of occupied Paris who say things like, “Stay away from the oven, you Nazi,” to the blond boy who is a genius with radios. Every character speaks in epigrams: Age is just a number, genius is a gift, says the blond boy’s Nazi mentor. The most important light in the world is the light you cannot see, says Etienne. And the ocean seems like the world catching its breath over and over again—this from the blind girl’s father. And so it goes.
Why watch it? To see how a beautiful book can translate into a beautiful-looking series