Undekhi 3: Clever’n’crisp criminal canon continues!

Dibyendu Bhattacharya and Harsh Chhaya in Undekhi 3. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Make no mistake: when it started out, I knew that Undekhi was not for the fainthearted. The characters ranged from immoral to amoral, with virtually the only truly moral character being that of the investigating officer, DSP (Deputy Superintendent of Police), Barun Ghosh (Dibyendu Bhattacharya). But he too soon emerged as a relentless man who did not exactly play by the (moral) book.

The evil dramatis personae were headed by Papaji (Harsh Chhaya), head of the Atwal family that “rules” the hill station of Manali. Their resort is just a front for their illegal drug dealings, and Papaji’s right hand is his adopted son, Rinku (Surya Sharma), who is a morally bankrupt and trigger-happy soul.

In a drunken fit at his NRI son Daman (Ankur Rathee)’s pre-wedding party with Teji (Anchal G. Singh), Papaji shoots dead a professional dancer, and the event management professionals are stopped from giving any evidence against him. Ghosh as the investigating cop smells several rats, and then there is the incriminating video of the act and witnesses who have to be silenced.

Season 2 took off with this backdrop of betrayals and counter-betrayals while Rinku also found love in Muskaan (Shivangi Singh) and there were business hiccups in the drug business apart from the emergence of a rival, Samarth (Nandish Sandhu). Teji was now playing a double game as she wanted her husband and herself out of the shady family games by relocating to the US with him. She came in cahoots with Samarth. The dancer’s death also has to be avenged by a friend. Rinku also got to know of Teji’s complicity and simultanously wanted to destroy Samarth, who in turn, wanted to ruin the Atwals’ business.

And so we enter Season 3. Rinku’s wife is now pregnant. Teji’s friend Saloni (Ayn Zoya) from the event team, is held captive (!) by the sadistic Rinku, and when Teji finds this out by chance, Saloni beseeches her for help as she wants to settle scores with Rinku as well as Teji’s father-in-law, Papaji.

Ghosh is back with a team of police officers in Satinder Singh (Rahul Bagga) and Rashi (Lavina Tandon) to get Papaji and the Atwals. Samarth is now on the backfoot, while Rinku’s lieutenant, Lucky (Vaarun Bhagat) is in love with Papaji’s nurse, Geet (Heli Daruwala), who attends to him after Papaji was almost killed in the previous season.

The video of the dancer’s murder still looms large. The Atwals also have a new “partner” who is actually an enemy, Rajveer Malhotra (Varun Badola) and his manager, Deepika (Shruthy Menon). So who are these new enemies? And why?

Manipulating medical reports and evidences, crafty narrative turns, some of which are shockers, relentless blood-spills and even automatic guns in overdrive, and a whopper twist in the climax make up this exciting season of eight episodes that add up to a humongous climax that yet leaves several questions unresolved.

After all, Rinku gets his just desserts, but is still free to carry out his nefarious ends. Lucky is in seeming limbo. Papaji is in jail and it seems like the end of the road for him. Daman is advised to move to the US by Rinku, but is estranged from his now-pregnant wife, with just a tiny sliver of hope for reconciliation. And what has happened to Saloni? Ghosh has realized that Malhotra has had a huge criminal record. There are many unanswered questions and unresolved issues…so can we expect a Season 4 two years hence, as has been the tradition so far?

But as a standalone season, Undekhi 3 is undeniably terrific entertainment. For once, the dark and brutal side is made truly interesting rather than repellent and the story’s graph even has subtle shades of divine intervention—in fact, the last episode is titled Karma is a Bitch. And so, even if we do not get a Season 4, we know that even the few gray characters shown are also in the kind of unenviable positions that we would not wish on any fellow human!

Technically, the most brilliant aspects are the extra-crisp editing (Saurabh Prabhudesai), the stunning camerawork that continues from Season 1 and 2 (all done by Murzi Pagdiwala) and the music score (Ashish Narula & Lazer X) that matches the pace and emotions of the series wherein even the darkest characters have their prominent emotional shades, be it Rinku, Lucky, Papaji or Malhotra.

Full credit to Ashish R. Shukla, whose grip on the storytelling is riveting to the extreme. The performances are almost all solid, and that is a term I am using in the most superlative sense of the term, and the intensity varies as per the caliber of the roles as they are written (the script and dialogues, especially those of Papaji and Ghosh, are amazing).

Harsh Chhaya is stupendous and more as the always-smiling snake that is Papaji, spewing expletives in every sentence, his eyes always bereft of unselfish emotions even when he is praising his wife, Rinku, Daman or anyone else! Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Surya Sharma, Vaarun Bhagat, Varun Badola, Shruthy Menon, Rahul Bagga, Lavina Tandon, Shivangi Singh, Meenakshi Sethi (as Papaji’s wife) and Ayn Zoya are all exceptional.

The only sore points are Ankur Rathee and Aanchal G. Singh. It may be argued that their roles are not as well-sketched and one-dimensional, but, hello! A good actor does not need long or well-etched roles to score.

But for this small nitpick, if you have watched the earlier seasons, this one ups the ante and cannot be missed. And if you are a new watcher, do first go and watch the earlier ones before you get to Season 3. Especially so because when we watch the first episode this time, it seems to be unconnected with the story, but is, in fact, a brilliant ploy to introduce two ruthless characters with a dark agenda.

And last but not least, it is gratifying no end to know that Undekhi is a completely indigenous franchise and not adapted from any foreign source!

Sony LIV & Applause Entertainment & Banijay Asia present Undekhi 3  Produced by: Deepak Dhar, Shreyashi Mukherjee & Rajesh Chadha  Directed by: Ashish R. Shukla  Written by: Upen Chauhan, Abhishek Garg, Sumit Kumar Godara, Chirag Salian, Jay Sheela Bansal Music: Ashish Narula & Lazer X  Starring: Hatsh Chhaya, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, Surya Sharma, Anchal G. Singh, Ankur Rathee, Ayn Zoya, Diwakar Dhayani, Vaarun Bhagat, Meenakshi Sethi, Shivani Sopuri, Shivangi Singh, Jamie Alter, Breshna Khan, Nandish Sandhu,  Anit Chauhann, Varun Badola, Shruthy Menon, Lavina Tandon, Heli Daruwala, Rahul Bagga & others





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