Form: Tahir Raj Bhasin, Amala Paul, Amrita Pur, Zarina Wahab, Paras Priyadarshan
Director: Pushpdeep Bhardwaj
Rating: Two and a half stars (out of 5)
After several big-screen iterations of the story of Mahesh Bhatt’s life and loves, it’s now the turn of an eight-part web series to relive the producer-director-writer’s early years as a struggling filmmaker grapples with the consequences of a extramarital affair and its tricky industry comparisons. The result is incoherent.
Ranjish Hello SahiCreated by Bhatt himself and streamed on Voot Select, delves into personal lore to unearth the ghost of a successful but troubled actress battling paranoid schizophrenia. The story of a creative and conflicted man grappling with ethical questions and making an effort to be fair to the women in his life might have seemed necessary had it not already been put to death. The fact that it spans multiple episodes only adds to its insignificance.
The series is written and directed by Pushpdeep Bhardwaj, who helmed jalebic (2018), a Hindi remake of a Bengali film (Praktano) that the Bhatts, Mahesh and Mukesh. It’s hard to pinpoint what he could have done to spice things up and give relevance to this drawn-out, fictionalized version of the oft-told Parveen Babi saga.
The male protagonist of Ranjish Hello SahiSet in the 1970s, is torn between a woman he wronged and a larger-than-life woman who desperately needs him by her side. “I trust you,” says his wife when he admits that he spent a whole night with the actress. She doesn’t ask a question. Opposite this too good to be true serenity is manic passion.
The actress asks the filmmaker she can’t live without: “Everyone wants a piece of me. Why don’t you want me?” That’s the shadow of love that Ranjish Hello Sahi concentrates while touching other parts of the drama.
Tahir Raj Bhasin, fresh off playing Sunil Gavaskar on the big screen and on a hot professional streak (he has another web series this week and a movie due out early next month), stars with a keen sense of the moral divide. stick playing here.
Ranjish Hello Sahi Amala Paul’s show is more than anyone else’s. She plays a pivot without being weighed down by the heavy burden in the least. Paul regularly pulls the story out of its slow troughs and moves in an instant between the euphoric and the edgy, the seductive and the sad.
The series makes liberal use of fictional elements to craft a story that goes back and forth between tedious lugging and enlightening insight. Sadly, there just isn’t enough of the latter to fully compensate for the wickedly dull patches in this drawn-out retelling of a story that begs to be rested.
The title, taken from an Ahmed Faraz ghazal immortalized by Mehdi Hassan, sums up the plight of a married man who doesn’t want to end up like his father – a Hindu film producer who had an illegitimate child with a Muslim woman but never mustered up the courage to face the fact to be publicly acknowledged.
As he dangles insecurely between his vows to his wife and his sense of gratitude to the other woman, Ranjish Hello Sahi constructs a mishmash of a story: a bit of arth (told from the woman’s perspective), some bits Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee (a weak melodrama, neither here nor there), grabbed out Woh Lamhe (same story seen from the actress’s point of view) and parts of Zakhm (largely devoted to the hero’s mother).
Shankar Vats (Bhasin), with three resounding flops behind him, is in the process of making his fourth film, his last chance to gain a foothold in the industry. An extremely popular actress Amna Parvez (Paul), who has a huge following of fans, shines a shine on the young writer-director who is desperate for real inspiration.
The show is set in two time frames: the 1970s and 2005, the year of Babi’s death. In addition, there is a short passage that goes all the way back to 1959 to bring out an important aspect of the male protagonist’s relationship with his mother.
Imitating 1970s Bollywood and the dingy ways of the men who controlled the industry is competent. Many of the characters that Shankar Vats and Aman Parvez have to deal with in order to continue despite serious impediments have real-life parallels. As the story progresses, discovering the connections becomes part of the game. Not that it matters. The triangle is what Ranjish Hello Sahi depends – everything else in the show is secondary with the exception of Shankar’s mother (Zarina Wahab).
The backstory of Shankar’s wife, Anju (Amrita Puri), a girl rescued from an orphanage by Shankar, is laid out in quite some detail to establish why the lady is so determined to create a happy, financially secure home for herself. build and her daughter. The character is overshadowed in the overall scheme of the web series. However, Puri seizes every opportunity the role presents to provide a clear delineation of a woman who fights to protect her happiness and dignity. As Shankar’s family unravels and the Amna decides to go bankrupt, his mother is a helpless bystander who, from her own experience, is acutely aware of the turbulence ahead. Zarina Wahab is absolutely amazing in the role of a woman who reminds her son that he can’t let history repeat itself.
A crucial part of Ranjish Hello Sahi is indeed committed to Shankar’s unconditional loyalty to his mother and his younger brother Ganesh (Paras Priyadarshan), who is a constant source of support as the aspiring filmmaker negotiates with powerful elements in the industry who have no patience for his aggression and will do anything in their power to see him fail.
Ranjish Hello Sahi is the story of a man, a son, a husband, a father and a lover whose choices threaten to derail his life and career. Not a bad deal on paper. But with nothing new to offer, the series just sputters on without exploding into something that could be considered remarkably revealing.
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