Back-to-back In the Indian market, over-the-top (OTT) content has dabbled in every genre imaginable. However, developers are reluctant to venture into the horror genre on OTT, with only Ghoul (also premiered in 2018) coming to mind.
Though the horror subgenre hasn't been heavily explored on Indian OTT since then, today saw the premiere of Tisca Chopra's horror and mythology-focused series Dahan, which she created.
We were really curious to see what would happen when mythology and horror were united, because the results could be devastating. Unfortunately, the show didn't live up to our high standards.
There are nine episodes total, and they all take place in the fictional Rajasthani hamlet of Shilashpura, where haunted caverns, hidden wealth, and family secrets abound.
At the outset of the novel, a mining operation threatens the town that is home to a mythological temple that, legend has it, can bring death to anybody who causes its destruction. In response to mysterious deaths and disappearances, however, one IAS official sets out to disprove the village's long-held superstitions.
Avani asks to be relocated to Shilaspura as she faces the dual tragedies of a corruption charge and the suicide of her husband. Objections have slowed down a mining project in a Rajasthani village. One group of peasants, led by the godman Pramukh, believes the mine is actually the home of a vicious demon known as Rak.
Even though the locals dread and worship Raka as a monster, they nonetheless cling to their sanity in part because of his adulation.
As the machines go deeper underground, the foreboding music that has surrounded Avani only grows in volume. Essentially, the authors want us to believe that it is complex when, in fact, it is a simplistic story about the unwarranted worries that arise from superstition.
There is a lot of spooky stuff going on, from the suggestion of powerful otherworldly beings to Avani's frightening flashbacks to conversations about the unintended implications of climate change.
The story is broken down into nine parts, each of which is about 45 to 50 minutes long. The story in this series drags on for no good reason, and the creators should have just released a movie instead. For instance, Dahan does not immediately thrust you into the action when Avani opens a Pandora's Box, unlike other horror genres where you would witness some action or the scene would startle you.
Dahan's fiction doesn't rely on cheap jump scares like those in most horror films. Still, there are parts of the film that are so expertly directed that they give you chills.
Both audiences and critics have found Dahan to be tedious. People go to the movies or watch television shows expecting to be thrilled and horrified, so it's not uncommon for horror to fall short of their expectations. The author obviously wanted to capture that thrilling and unsettling sensation, but he or she fell short.
Although the subject and script appeared promising on paper, they were poorly executed in the film. The script just isn't interesting enough to watch. Even though it would have been great to see the villagers fearing and stopping the mining operations in their village right from the start of the series, the story of the demon could have been extended in the later episodes to keep the audience interested in what and why the villagers are opposed to mining. The story of Raka, however, starts with the pilot.
Additionally, the series is characterised by a ponderous and tedious narration. Dahan would have been fantastic if the show maintained its high pace and kept spectators on the edge of their seats.
Similar to one another, Dahan and Ghoul are based on an intriguing idea set in a somewhat foreboding world. In contrast, Ghoul uses genre cliches to remark on taboo topics like political retribution that the mainstream film industry shies away from. By tapping into our worst nightmares, Ghoul exposed our true awful selves.
Ghoul appears to have been influenced by the Conjuring films due to the similarities between the two. Dahan's plot, on the other hand, masterfully conveys the town's polarised personalities, shady politics, and deeply ingrained orthodox practises.
All of the actors do a superb job of alternating between the Rajasthani and Hindi languages used in the production. One impressive feat the designer accomplished was not dumbing down the local language to make it more accessible to the public.
It was one of the prettiest sets, and credit for that goes to Dahan's art director. The inhabitants of Shilashpura went to great lengths to maintain the air of mystery around the town's many mysterious tunnels and mines, as well as the magical town's many mysterious machines.
Tisca Chopra performed a fine job as Avani, but the script failed to capture the actress's internal struggle against the ghosts of her past. Both Rajesh Tailang and Saurabh Shukla, as Godman, have done a fantastic job throughout the series. The remaining actors include Mukesh Tiwari, Rohan Joshi, Lehar Khan, Ankur Nayyar, and Rahul Tewari. Producer/director Vikranth Pawar is in charge of the show.