It’s the era of female protagonists. More and more films are becoming about women and for women. In this comes Damaged, a web series that has a female anti-hero and people who are either trying to capture her or save her – for whatever it’s worth. This is our complete review of the first Hungama Original, Damaged.
Amruta Khanvilkar plays a woman who’s living in the beach side of Mumbai suburbs and runs a bakery business. She lives with a helper and her younger brother and life’s hunky dory. However, all is not as it seems as young men – all related to her disappear and the authorities are hot on her heels.
What’s Wow: It’s laudable for anyone to try to get a female antagonist in Indian entertainment.
What’s Blah: Though this series is strictly for the streaming audiences – Hungama doesn’t have a terrestrial presence – the sensibilities aren’t. The screenplay is all over the place. What could be a great story and character arc falls by the wayside.
You can’t invest yourself in the story of Amruta’s character and neither can you invest yourself in the investigation arc. The series leaves out several loopholes and none of the character’s evolution, devolution or simple disappearance satisfies the audience. At last count, we had six characters, plus three that are referred to in a dialogue just wither away like Thanos did his snap trick again.
In 2018, the screenplay is laughable and somewhere, it exposes the warped view that the media has of the police force. Either they are straight forward or corrupt. The way some of the interrogations scenes are set up, it’s a surprise anyone – and I mean anyone – greenlighted them. The low blows to a yesteryear actress is unnecessary and uncalled for – all this leaves a bitter taste for the audience. Any one of those interrogation sequences or khaki high handedness would result in a press conference or at least a Facebook live today.
What’s incredibly surprising is the way some of the story arcs are just cut off loose without any clarification. Not just that, the evolution of characters is tone dead. Of the performances, only Amit Sial and Amruta Khanvillkar and Shruti Ulfat are justifiable.
The direction opens itself to some harsh criticism too. How many of those soft-core sequence featuring Khanvilkar with a middle-point focus and bokeh effect do you need in what’s essentially a psychological thriller? Why do you need three minutes to portray something that someone else would do in thirty seconds?
The screenplay doesn’t just irritate with the weird investigation scenes but even simple sequences don’t really feel realistic. A fisherman speaking in Goanese in Malwani, Mumbai isn’t realistic. A priest having a pastry in a bakery wearing his cassock isn’t too.
Though the series seems to be woman centric, it’s filled with female characters that are as cliched as they were in the films of the 80s. Two of them are needy, one of them is needy and angry that she isn’t getting what she wants and the third one is just a plot point.
Parting Shot: Save your data, don’t watch this
Director: Aarambhh Mohan Singh
Producer: Alligator Media
Cast: Amruta Khanvillkar, Amit Sial, Shreya Ulfat
You can watch the series on Hungama play