Director: Vikram K Kumar
Cast: Naga Chaitanya, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Prachi Desai, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Ravindra Vijay, Pasupathy, Rohini, Tharun Bhaskar, Srikant Murali, Tanikella Bharani
Where: Streaming on Amazon Prime Video
Rating: 3.5 stars
With the fourth pillar of our society under constant criticism and what seems to be crumbling on a daily basis, the need to reflect upon journalism ethics is certainly the need of the hour.
Created by Vikram K Kumar of 13 B and Manam fame, Dhootha, drawing inspiration from the Sanskrit term Doot, meaning messenger, aptly mirrors the diminishing influence of media as the intermediary between the public and the truth. Infused with a touch of the supernatural, the 8-episode series delves into the decline of media ethics, which are convoluted by the pursuits of greed, power and politics.
Naga Chaitanya takes on the role of Sagar Varma in the series, portraying an investigative journalist, committed to pursuing the truth and upholding the media as the ultimate voice of the public. Elevated to the position of Chief Editor at an emerging daily Samachar, Sagar settles to savor the fruits of his success. However, the narrative takes an ugly turn when an unsettling newspaper clipping foretells the demise of his pet. Subsequently, a series of similar events unfold, with Sagar losing loved ones in quick succession following more ominous predictions. Compelled by these events, Sagar resorts to unethical methods in his quest to unravel the mystery, with assistance and suspicion following him from DCP Kranthi, portrayed by Parvathy Thiruvothu.
With Navin Nooli's cinematography and Ishaan Chhabra's riveting background score, Dhootha effortlessly stands out as one of the most captivating mysteries to grace the Indian OTT landscape in recent times. Rajeevan's production design enhances the story's setting. While director Kumar and the team of writers have successfully executed their ambitious vision to create a compelling thriller, the extended length of the show cites a lot of indulgence, which could have been avoided.
Yet, observing the consequences of our actions, whether intentional or unintentional on lives beyond our understanding, is undeniably an intriguing premise. Watching Sagar come to terms with the terror of losing lives in his proximity as he confronts his own wrongdoings is what renders Dhootha as an immensely binge-worthy delight.
Naga Chaitanya delivers an exceptional and top-notch performance in the role of Sagar. He is skillfully complemented by Parvathy, portraying the quick-witted police woman capable of taking down wrongdoers single-handedly. In contrast, Prachi Desai and Priya Bhavani Shankar, in their relatively briefer roles as Amrutha and Priya, respectively, are unfortunately serviceable. The consistently reliable Ravindra Vijay, known for his role as Muthu Pandian in The Family Man Season 2, impresses as the deceitful Inspector Ajay Ghosh. Pasupathy, Rohini, Tharun Bhaskar, Srikant Murali and Tanikella Bharani contribute notable performances, further enhancing the prospects of the series.
While some segments of the series may appear somewhat predictable, Dhootha stands out as a departure from conventional thrillers, placing a captivating theme at the forefront. It is certainly recommended for a quick binge, especially if you're open to exploring content in another language.