Streaming on Netflix 14th January 2022
The story of Siddarth Sengupta’s Yeh Kaali Ankhein isn’t particularly new. Love triangles where one person is obsessed with another isn’t an unfamiliar space, here instead of a male obsessive/possessive lover you have a female. But what makes the show click is the treatment. Every episode ends on a cliffhanger which arouses curiosity in the audience. The twist at the end in particular deserves a special mention. It is not only something that catches you unawares but it also sets up the base for an exciting season 2.
This eight episode series is set in the imaginary town of Onkara. The plot focuses on the character of Vikrant played by Tahir Raj Bhasin. His father (Bijendra Kala) works under the powerful politician of that area Akhiraj (Saurab Shukla). Vikrant’s life plan is very simple. He wants to move out of Onkara, get a job and have a happily ever after with the love of his life Shikha played by Shweta Tripathi. But his life turns upside down with the entry of a childhood classmate Purva (Anchal Singh). Adding to Vikrant’s misery she is the daughter of the politician under which his father works. Purva’s obsession with Vikrant had started from school itself and now it has reached a dangerous level. Things take such a turn that Vikrant is forced to marry Purva as a result his life turns upside down. Since this is a thriller revealing anything more wouldn’t be appropriate.
An important aspect of a genre like this is how you keep audiences on the edge of their seat, it has to be said that the director does a splendid job in keeping the audiences guessing. The way the narrative moves between reality and Vikrant’s imagination is neatly done. The director also deserves credit for the way he sets up the story in the first twenty minutes of the first episode. There is no dragging or beating around the bush.
The lights moments have also been smartly integrated into the plot. Most of them involve Vikrant and his family. The son’s desperation to move away and do something with his life and the father’s inability to understand it raise many chuckles. These scenes provide a much needed comic relief from the tense drama.
Siddarth Sengupta also deserves appreciation for the way he shapes up the character of Vikrant. The journey of Vikrant from a small time boy to a man on mission is smoothly done. Because of this the grey shades of Vikrant’s character in the latter half of the show do not feel abrupt. It also helps that Tahir captures the nuances perfectly; he doesn’t miss a single beat. Anchal Singh’s Purva is another big winner. The most striking aspect of her performance is the way she uses her eyes. Every time she smiles at Vikrant audiences feel a sense of uneasiness. She is perfect as the intimidating and unforgiving Purva. In comparison to Tahir and Anchal, Shweta Tripathi’s character doesn’t feel adequately fleshed out. She feels mostly underutilized in spite of being one of the major characters. Her job is mostly confined to being on the run and waiting for Vikrant’s instructions. There is a half hearted attempt to give her some agency but it feels labored. Here’s hoping that she will have a better role in season 2.
Saurab Shukla is an actor who doesn’t need any special introduction. He has proved his worth many times in the past and here too he gets perfectly into the headspace of Akhiraj
The cinematography by Murzy Pagdiwala adds authenticity to the plot. The atmospherics feel real starting from the river Ghats and dams.
Watch Ye Kaali Kaali Ankhein if you are in the mood for a twisted tale of power, love and deceit.