It took writer-director, Patrick Graham, to change the way India does horror and anti-establishment films.
Staring Radhika Apte and Manav Kaul, Netflix’s Ghoul fuses socio-political angst of dystopian India with supernatural elements. This horror saga dropped on Netflix on Friday, 24 August.
This Netflix original is probably the most fearless filmmaking India has seen – it brims with provocative and unapologetic dialogues and scenes, where possession of beef and incendiary devices are treated as equal acts of crime.
The perils of hyper-nationalism and sectarianism are beautifully highlighted in the first episode of this three-part miniseries. But, it somehow loses its way in the second and final episode, where it falls down to fit the mold of the above average horror series.
Ghoul sees a strong female lead in Radhika Apte, who gets better and better with every passing minute till she blows our roofs off in the climax. Apte plays Nida Rahim, a member of the advanced interrogation squad who is called to Meghdoot 31, a post-Guantanamo Bay like set up to interrogate a notorious terrorist, Ali Saeed Al Yacoub.
She desperately seeks social approval – and to prove her loyalty to her country, she even turns her intellectual father in for his non-syllabus teaching. While Manav Kaul doesn’t entirely fit the bill of a soulless nationalist mass murderer, it is Ratnabali Bhattacharjee who stands out as the ferocious and ruthless Major Laxmi Das.
Ghoul may not be spooky enough to make you scream or jump out of fear because of it’s long drawn build-up that gives you ample time to prepare for an inevitable fright, it is a refreshing break from ‘Dayaans’ in white sarees and braided hair nonetheless. It’s cinematography is compelling and it’s sound design is remarkably slick.
Even though Ghoul doesn’t use prosthetics to give us the ghostly scare, it is scary for different reasons. It makes us visit the ghost of our country’s past – the infamous Emergency of 1975 and warns us of a state filled with darkness and pathos if our hyper right-wing nationalism is left unchecked.
About the author:
Paulomi Chakraborty is a writer/editor for WebTokri (webtokri.com) and a former news producer. She believes that women are stronger than they look and that samosa chutney is life.
You can write to her at [email protected]