Earlier, when I used to compare Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, I always thought that though Amazon makes less Indian content, their films and web series are “quality content.” After Paatal Lok, a lot changed and their content started looking like it was set in a template.
Take Made In Heaven, Panchayat, Modern Love: Mumbai, or The Family Man for example. Great concepts, wonderful execution, new stories. But now, it’s getting repetitive. No matter whether the series is set in the partition era or in 2023, caste discrimination, religious disharmony, and violence almost takes precedence over the main story of the film/web series.
The way police are treated in this series or Sonakshi Sinha’s character, Anjali is treated because of her caste and also, because she is a woman is something we have seen a lot, in the movies as well as real life. We want films and series to be made on such topics only if they give us a solution through stories, only if they are capable of changing perception through their stories. Unless and until, someone’s a psychopath wouldn’t enjoy the real life trauma on screen and consume it as entertainment. We know how hospitals function, but we loved Munna Bhai MBBS because it proposed a change. We know how childhood trauma breaks us as adults, but we love Taare Zameen Par because it taught us about how unconditional love can heal these tiny souls. Similarly, if filmmakers give a positive twist to the issues we are tired of dealing with in daily life, people would watch them. I am not sure if stories like Dahaad would interest people.
Dahaad is said to be inspired by true events. Digital Mafia Talkies claims that “Anand Swarnakar (Vijay Verma’s character) has quite an uncanny resemblance with Mohan Kumar Vivekanand, who has been popularised in the media by the name of Cyanide Mohan.” If the makers would have made the same claim, Dahaad would still be an interesting watch but making fiction where we are made to assume that this might be a true story as it is said to be inspired by true events is foolishness. In the name of creative liberty, storytellers cannot twist real stories and bring in imaginary scenarios without justifying what is happening in the film/series. Tell the story as it is or do not tell it at all.
And if you want the audience to truly watch what you have created, even if it is fiction, make sure they get something valuable out of it. Life is anyway hectic and distressing, don’t add more trauma to this drama.