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Gaanth Chapter 1: Jamnaa Paar Review: Boring

June 11, 2024 13:44 IST
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It introduces random characters, goes on several wild goose chases and is incapable of holding onto any thread of the plot, sighs Deepa Gahlot.

Last year there was Aakhri Sach; there was also an episode of Crime Patrol and a true crime docu series, The House Of Secrets -- you'd imagine all the shock-and-chill had been squeezed out of the horrific Burari case. The gruesome deaths of several members of a family found hanging, bound and gagged, were a crime-solving nightmare.

Now there's yet another series, Gaanth Chapter 1: Jamnaa Paar on the same case, with some changes. The name of the family changed to Chandel, the number of deaths reduced to seven, and so on.

A few scenes into the opening of the series, directed by Kanishk Varma, the viewer is hit with the hideous sight of the hanging corpses shot from every angle.

If that didn't get the heart sinking, there are close-ups of a dead dog. Later too, there are several eye-averting, barf-inducing scenes of mutilated corpses and such, as if the team wanted to outdo the real incident and its several screen versions in sensationalism.

'Restraint and good taste get thrown out of the window.


And then there's the big cop-show cliché, the drunken police officer with a botched case blotting his copy book, and a troubled past. The man's called Gadar Singh here, and played by Manav Vij in Sardar get-up, and an unremitting angry expression.

He would be understandably annoyed because his superiors dump the case on him, don't give him time to investigate properly and make him the scapegoat when things go sideways. There is also a journalist, Sunny Jha (Ajit Singh Palawat), who uses every chance he gets to twist the knife in Gadar's gut.

There are other cops wandering around, but Gadar finds a sidekick in Dr Sakshi Murmu (Monica Panwar), who gets much grief in the hospital where she works, from 'merit' students (she is an OBC reservation hire). She barges into the room of a kid who survived the family carnage, and tries to help him.

Sakshi supposedly suffers from 'savant' syndrome, which means she sees patterns in random words and numbers. Not clear in Chapter 1 how that would help solve the case, but mostly she stares at the drawings made by the child, frowns and tries to make sense of them.

The show (written by Soham Bhattacharyya, Fahim Irshad, Anagh Mukherjee) suffers from creative equivalent of restless leg syndrome; it introduces random characters, goes on several wild goose chases, and is incapable of holding on to any thread of the plot or take it to a halfway believable direction.

Characters who seem to be important are mysteriously killed, clues are left dangling and one noisy TV anchor is the only one who even bothers about the awful crime.

So the glowering Gadar Singh is unable to solve the case, despite Sakshi snapping at his heels, and a female assistant Satyavati (Saloni Batra) making sympathetic sounds in chaste Hindi, plus nocturnal visits to a graveyard. His drinking does not cease, and to add to his problems, he is in danger of losing custody of his daughter, for obvious reasons.

When Rajesh Tailang enters the show as a CBI investigator, it looks like sparks will fly, but it turns out to be another damp squib. If Gadar Singh is supposed to be extra bright or even likeable, as a protagonist of a show should ideally be, it is not evident in eight episodes.

There are murder, ritual suicide, collective psychosis angles thrown up and dropped, because after going round in concentric circles, the case is nowhere near closed, so obviously a Chapter 2 is lined up!

In real life police work, this tardiness, working at cross purposes, severe lapses of judgment (cremating corpses while the investigation is on!), and sheer idiocy might be par for the course, but at least fiction should make sense. Or try not to be soporifically boring as well as exasperating.

Gaanth Chapter 1: Jamnaa Paar streams on JioCinema.

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