Director: Robbie Grewal
Cast: Tamannaah Bhatia, Abhishek Banerjee, Shivin Narang, Rahul Bagga, Kriti Vij, Pratik Sehejpal
Where: Streaming now on Disney + Hotstar
Ratings: 2 stars
Please note: The review is based on the first two episodes of the series, that are now officially streaming. The remaining episodes will follow on a weekly basis.
Based on the series of events that unfolded leading to the unfounded, unfortunate deaths of 11 members of the Chundawat family in East Delhi’s Burari neighbourhood, Aakhri Sach starring an ensemble of actors including Tamannaah Bhatia, Abhishek Banerjee, Shivin Narang, Rahul Bagga, Kriti Vij and Pratik Sehejpal amongst others, is a merely dramatized recollection of the account.
Streaming now on Disney+Hotstar, the first two episodes, each paced at a duration of half an hour, lay out the crux of the plot. Anya (Bhatia) and her team are tasked with the responsibility of getting to the bottom of the case as to what led to 10 out of 11 members of the Rajawat family being left hanging together while the 11th, the aged matriarch of the family, is found dead in another room, presumably strangulated. As a visibly shaken and dumbfounded Anya and her team join the dots to figure out the whodunnit, revelations that spring along through the course of the investigation are only bound to leave them perplexed.
Directed by Robbie Grewal, the first episode does manage to pique your interest and you’re immediately invested in hopping alongside Anya as she navigates through her proceedings. But, once the story shifts focus to dissecting the Rajawat family dynamics with Bhuvan (Banerjee who is channelling his Hathoda Tyagi image from Paatal Lok), being largely instrumental for inviting doom to his family, is when a sense of restlessness sets in. The screenplay doesn’t cut or interplay seamlessly between an ongoing investigation and the course of events that transpired towards the tragedy.
In between, the makers’ intent seems to be dangerously hackneyed in what it is trying to establish. Is Aakhri Sach a police procedural or a commentary over social expectations about a woman’s ability to take charge of situations? In between you have two policemen who are engaging in scathingly sexist comments over how Anya is unfit for the job that is expected of her even as her seniors continue to believe in her potential. In that context alone, the series comes across as a futile attempt to address the rampant workplace disparity.
While Tamannaah is earnest and seemingly sincere in wanting to breakaway from her glamorous image and opt for roles that offer her more potential as a performer, it doesn’t help that her character isn’t given the urgency or the rigour to pull off the cop act with conviction. You see Anya chase a suspect down among bustling market lanes, but her run is too poised in that moment.
Abhishek as Bhuvan makes for a compelling watch. But, since the viewers are mostly aware about the chronology of events that have been explored previously on television and digital, it barely leaves an opportunity for the viewers to engage with him.
What is particularly baffling is the decision to release the episodes on a weekly basis because viewers are likely to scout and source more information about the case by themselves than look forward to watching a show about the same subject. While that stands subjective, unfortunately the show does not offer enough for a viewer’s attention to be held.
I am not suggesting that Aakhri Sach isn’t watchable. It’s only concerning that the show does not serve its own purposes.
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