Ayushmaan Bhava is one of the five shows, Star Bharat
has launched to kick-start the channel as a "new" wave. Adding a thriller to the list, is a pretty good move and we watched the first few episodes to see what it's all about and boy, were we in for pleasant surprise!
The show revolves around a child, Krish who feels inherently connected to Avinash, a software developer who dies a tragic death. Krish gets small clues about his past life and so begins the ominous tale of revenge. Here's what it looks like-
The Story So Far...
We are introduced to Avinash Dubey (Avinash Sachdev
) and his family in their humble home where it's a big day for Avinash as his Face Recognition software is set to be launched. Excited, he readies himself for work, talks of big plans with his family and on the commute, meets his love interest Samaira (Megha Gupta
) and asks for her hand in marriage too.
On reaching work, he is shocked to see a news flash of his software being launched by another company. He rushes to his desk only find he doesn't have access to his system. In the next moment the police barges in with the boss as Avinash frantically tries to reason with them saying that only he and his boss knew the password and just as he begins to defend the boss he realises that it could be his doing.
During the debacle in the office, a colleague slips him a pen-drive with CCTV footage of the culprits. In jail he asks for a chance to produce evidence. The cops take him to the police commissioner, but the catch is, Avinash's boss and the mind behind the thievery show up as well. He dives to get the pendrive and tries to run but is caught and Vikrant (Manish Goel
) is revealed to be the mind behind the plan. Avinash is strangled to death and is hung in jail to pass it off as suicide.
The story shifts to the present day and we're introduced to Krish (Ricky Patel), an 8 year old who somehow sees flashes of Avinash's past. He even sees his figure with his back turned as he follows his visions to a place in a park where Avinash and Samaira had buried a box of notes and gifts they exchanged. Krish's mother (Priya Marathe
) is over protective and she is constantly worrying about his safety. The boy resembles Avinash as we see his mom Kaushalya (Savita Prabhune
) stop for a minute and gasp at the similarity on a busy market street.
Krish carries a lot of common traits with this dead predecessor and apart from sightings, he also has the gift for repairing things and he fixes a laptop for his father. On his birthday, Krish gets a flash of Avinash's parents standing in the room and he faints. His visions affect him and he grows aloof, while his parents visit the psychiatrist to see what's awry about him. The viewers' doubts are cleared as a pandit informs Kaushalya that her son's kundali doesn't reflect a death. The episodes leave us with questions on what the connections will lead to.
Right off-the-bat, this series has an amazing title track with its water-colour theme coupled with menacing symbols of an impending doom and haunting lyrics. From the initial scenes, we enjoyed how quickly the story escalated. We're shown a swift shift and a plot that is constantly revealing a new angle. By far, the best part is the juxtaposition of scenes from Avinash and Krish's lives. A particularly good scene is where Krish falls of a cycle and the scene cuts to a flashback with Avinash wincing in pain.
The show has an ominous tone that is very effective. You get a sense of something big and bad coming up as the boy follows his instincts with his mother re-enforcing the fear of what may happen to him. What we loved about the plot is its parallel structure (between the past and the present). It doesn't go over-board and gives us subtle, quick hints that are needed. Viewers get to sympathize with the characters who play their parts well and this is precisely where the audience gets on board! The tragic flavour and the fear generated for the the characters is a sure-fire way to bring out the effects of a thriller.
The story doesn't give way too much critique, but while we enjoyed the parallel narrative, we couldn't help but notice how repetitive it can get. Priya's Marathe's character descends to incessant cribbing and there's an overreaction to situations that is often repeated. The supernatural element (like in most hindi series) is overlapped with superstition and we don't know if its the best idea, since the show could do without it. There's a lot of scope for dramatized scenes due to the religious motifs and the emotional characters. And, we hope it doesn't go from mysterious to plain depressing.
Like the visual reference, everything connects! Ayushmaan Bhava has the plot, the backstory and the potential to weave intrigue. There is an intermingling of the past and present. The danger looms and grows slowly. Krish with his overprotective parents, the violent death in the first episode, the plight of a family whose hopes were snatched and the instincts of mothers are enough fuel to stir the viewer and get involved with the story. It has a clever narrative, scenes that are devoid of drama and a build-up rather than an outburst of paranoia.
We're glad we are given a good revenge thriller after a long time and one that doesn't involve a lover or a marriage. Unless the show decided to over-dramatize its subject, nothing can stop it from being the best thriller we've seen in a very long time.
Ratings: **** (4/5)