Mithya is a gripping show, Avantika a rocker!

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Avantika Dassani and Huma Qureshi in ZEE5’s Mithya. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Now here’s a 6-episode winner that you can binge-watch, given its grip and excitement levels. Adapted wonderfully from the 2019 British TV series, Cheat, the show transplants the tale onto picturesque Darjeeling and a college there with a Hindi literature teacher, Juhi Adhikari (Huma Qureshi) and her student Rhea Rajguru, daughter of the college trustee Rajguru (Samir Soni).

When Juhi finds a presentation by Rhea plagiarized, all hell breaks loose. Rhea is furious, her father embarrassed, and Juhi, whose marriage with fellow teacher Neil (Parambhrata Chattopadhyay) is anything but ideal, is determined not to let Rhea get away with it. Juhi’s father (Rajit Kapur) and mom (Avantika Akerkar) are a contented couple whose marriage is about to touch 35, and Rhea has a traumatic relationship with her dad as her mother had jumped off a cliff in front of her eyes when she was a moppet and she blames him for the suicide and her lack of a mother.

Juhi, already on medication, becomes even more disturbed as the Rhea issue escalates beyond expectations, and even fantasizes about sex with a colleague, Vishal (Indroneil Sengupta). She wants to be a mother, but Neil has fertility issues. And then Rhea steps into Neil’s life…

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The series is crisp (6 episodes of an average 35 minutes) and told in a smart mode where flashbacks take precedence over the present after a fatal outcome of all these developments. From the investigating police team, Ajeet (K.C. Shankar) is sure of Juhi’s guilt, and suspicious of Rhea as well, but his deputy, Sunanda (Bishakha Thapa) is doggedly following her own instincts. She stumbles upon the truth finally. But is that for real? Or is it after all, a Mithya (lie or untruth)? And what will happen next?

Rohan Sippy even delivers a chilling cliffhanger even as he completes this story, which is yet another riveting concept from Sameer Nair and Applause Entertainment (Your Honor, Criminal Justice, Undekhi, Mayanagri—City of Dreams and Hostages franchises, Scam 1992 et al). So we do not know if we are getting a second season, but we expect one, even if the original serial had none.

The twists are superb, the human issues engrossing and the vaccilating helplessness and determination of the two protagonists, Juhi and Avantika, make for great viewing and thrilling moments. The twin denouements are shocking enough (one is for real), as is the last scene, but we get twists along the way as well. And the way the script evolves, it could well be called a psychological chiller as well.

Making a humongous mark among the seasoned cast is debutant Avantika Dassani as Rhea. Sans a false note, this very promising newbie is exemplary in her expressions and body language and even her slightly raw dialogues-delivery emerges in tune with her layered character. Daughter of Bhagyashree of Maine Pyar Kiya fame, she comes across as a rocker in every sense and is completely at ease in the challenging turns in her role.

Huma Qureshi is dependable, as she always is nowadays, as Juhi, the traumatized teacher. Rajit Kapur and Avantika (this series is a showcases of two Avantika’s!) are fluidly excellent as Huma’s parents. Krishna Kumar Bisht as the watchman in the hostel is superb in his limited role, and Bishakha Thapa excels as the deputy cop with conviction. The rest of the cast makes for a good ensemble.

Special mention needs to be made of three more aspects: the background score (Ripul Sharma & George Joseph) is commendably in sync with what is happening, the editing (Abhijit Deshpande) a big asset in the crisp narration. And last but emphatically not the least, Sirsha Ray’s camerawork lends not only a magical look to the series with its dreamy locations, but these misty environs add more dimension and heft to the spellbinding nature of the thriller.

Rating: ****

ZEE5 presents Applause Entertainment & Rose Audio Visual’s Mithya Produced by: Sameer Nair, Goldie Behl & Shradha Behl Singh Directed by: Rohan Sippy Written by: Althea Kaushal, Anvita Dutt, Purva Naresh based on a story by Gaby Hull Music: Ripul Sharma & George Joseph  Starring: Huma Qureshi, Avantika Dassani, Parambhrata Chattopadhyay, Indroneil Sengupta, Rajit Kapur, Bishakha Thapa, K.C. Shankar, Samir Soni, Tamana Bhutoria, Charu Sarin, Avantika Akerkar, Rushad Rana, Naina Sareen, Krishna Singh Bisht & others

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