Duranga is decent atmospheric thriller

Drashti Dhami and Gulshan Devaiah in ZEE5’s Duranga. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Korean remakes had become very common in Hindi cinema in the last decade. So it is now the turn of the web to indulge in official Korean adaptations: Duranga (which means two-faced) is reworked from the Korean series, Flower of Evil. And while the climax shows that the main suspect is exposed, a lot remains to be clarified, and hopefully, season 2 will come with a fair promptness and take care of the unresolved aspects of this chiller thriller.

A sculptor as well as expert chef, Sammit Patel (Gulshan Devaiah) is a loving husband to an ace cop, Ira Jaykar Patel (Drashti Dhami) and a doting father to little Anya (Hera Mishra). Sammit’s parents, Dr. Manohar (Rajesh Khattar) and Anupriya Patel (Divya Seth), frown on his choice of wife and are hostile to even the moppet.

A couple of murders and their similarities to some 17 year-old serial killings of women near Goa lead the cops, that is Ira and colleague Nikhil (Kiran Srinivas), to the past, where Bala Banne (Zakir Hussain) was accused of killing multiple women and part-mutilating their bodies. Since then, Abhishek Banne, his son, has gone missing and Bala has committed suicide.

The solution seems obvious: Abhishek seems to be copying his father after inheriting his genes of doing gruesome killings, for whatever kinky reason, but no one knows where he is now and what he looks like. A newshound with his own popular portal, Vikas (Abhishek Khandkekar), is closely following the case now.

As events unfold, it becomes very clear that Sammit is not who he is on the surface. He has of course confessed to Ira that he has a past, but Ira loves him unconditionally and decides to marry him so that she will protect him from the ‘ghosts’ of the past! So is Sammit actually Abhishek Banne? And what happened to Abhishek’s sister Prachi, who must be 17 years older now? Finally, the police home in on a possible accomplice of Bala Banne, who might be one of these, or someone else.

A layered thriller, Duranga errs (I have not seen the original, and how faithfully or otherwise this one has been replicated) in some important details. Without giving away spoilers, this, particularly, also has to do with the chase between Ira and Abhishek and a vital clue that should have told her a lot. And finally, is Sammit a two-faced man or not, despite all the evidence suggesting he is? Who really are the Patels? And why is a man called Victor Telkar hell-bent on killing Sammit?

For most of the series, the thriller is full of unexpected twists and turns that are finally explained (but for the gaffes above), and there is a macabre turn in the end with respect to the identity of the accomplice. Overall, Duranga does emerge as a smart and quite atmospheric thriller that reminds us in part both of Asur and The Raikar Case.

The series banks largely on the performances besides the twists and convolutions, and scores high in the former, besides having one of the best thematic background riffs we have heard on any Indian screen for ages.

Gulshan Devaiah as the subdued and admittedly unfortunate husband with a past is superb, and Drashti Dhami as Ira is doggedly determined to excel, though on some key occasions she fails to impress. Barkha Bisht, in a brief appearance as Prachi, is exceptional, and Abhishek Khandkekar correctly slimy as well as cowardly. Divya Seth is brilliant as Anupriya Patel and Hera Mishra is naturally charming. From the rest, Kiran Srinivas as Nikhil and Tanuka Laghate as the psychotic murderess display fine mettle. Rajesh Khattar as Dr. Patel is alright, and Zakir Hussain and Amit Sadh have to do with competent, low-key cameos.

Directed a shade erratically on occasion, Duranga still emerges as a watchable series where you want to know when the next twist and turn will come., and what will it be.

Rating: ***

ZEE5 presents Rose Audiovisual’s Duranga  Created by: Goldie Behl Produced by Shristi Behl Singh  Directed by: Pradeep Sarkar & Aijaz Khan Written by: Yoo Jung-hee & Charudutt Acharya  Music: Ripul Sharma & George Joseph Starring: Drashti Dhami, Gulshan Devaiah, Hera Mishra, Barkha Bisht Sengupta,  Rajesh Khattar, Divya Seth, Amit Sadh, Zakir Hussain, Abhijit Khandkekar, Nivedita Saraf, Sanjay Gurbaxani, Kiran Srinivas, Sparsh Walia, Vitthal Patil, Tanuka Laghate & others






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