Show: Dahan –Raakan Ka Rahasya
Cast: Tisca Chopra, Rajesh Tailang, Mukesh Tiwari, Saurabh Shukla, Ankur Nayyar, Rohan Joshi, Lehar Khan, Jaimini Pathak
Director: Vikranth Pawar
Rating: 3 Moons
India is a land of diverse practices as well as contradictions. Occult practices, mysticism, black magic, superstitions as well as scientific breakthroughs and theories are embedded in the Indian psyche and culture. We are the land of the people who gave the zero, calibrated the calendar, gave treatise on solar system, the earth and the universe and yet have a large population living with illiteracy. Disney+Hotstar’s new show Dahan-Raakan Ka Rahasya tries to show this divide in 9 episodes, each with a runtime of around 45-50 minutes.
Dahan-Raakan Ka Rahasya boasts of an ensemble cast that includes Tisca Chopra, Rajesh Tailang, Mukesh Tiwari, Saurabh Shukla, Ankur Nayyar, Rohan Joshi, Lehar Khan and others. Tisca plays a disgraced IAS officer, Avni, who is grappling with her own personal demons as her husband has committed suicide and her son blames her for it. She requests a transfer to Shilaspura, a village in Rajasthan where a mining project has been put on hold due to the villagers’ protests. A section of the village, led by godman Pramukh (played by Saurabh Shukla), believes that the mine is the lair of blood-thirsty demon which will get unleashed if woken up by the miners.
Avni arrives at the village with her teenage son Anay (Rohan Joshi) and takes charge of the situation. Without taking due consideration of the villagers’ sentiments, Avni gets on the job by being abrasive and dismissive of local customs and beliefs. She quickly finds herself at loggerheads with the village folks, her only ally is the mine’s general manager (Jaimini Pathak). She tries to present a modern woman who does not believe in such superstitions but gradually seeps into the world of madness after experiencing strange occurrences.
Director Vikranth Pawar’s show tries to tackle the thin line between logic and superstition. He is able to build an impressive world with commendable CGI and VFX but loses the thread with Dahan’s increasingly convoluted plot. A tighter and taut direction would have made the series more worthy. In one of the episodes, the writing becomes so heavy and verbose that the audience’s attention is sure to not only waver but to get lost. The evocative locations, superb visual effects and Sunil Nigvekar’s rich production design do more justice to the story than the writing itself.
Tisca Chopra, who leads the star cast, has given a commendable performance. She appears determined, resolute and in command of the scenes. Other notable performances come from Saurabh Shukla as the ill-omen proclaiming godman, Mukesh Tiwari as the contemptuous policeman Bhairon and Rohan Joshi as Avni’s sulky and unruly son. Rajesh Tailang and Ankur Nayyar also impress.
The writing team of Shiva Shankar Bajpai, Nisarg Mehta and Nikhil Nair would have fared better if they had kept the runtime of the show small. With episodes clocking almost 50+minutes, Dahan becomes a tedious watch and would have been more interesting if they were shorter and crisper.
Dahan-Raakan Ka Rahasya walks a tightrope between occult, science, logic and supernatural but does not stick with you. Watch it for the performances and VFX and not for the plot.
PeepingMoon.com gives Dahan-Daakan Ka Rahasya, 3 Moons.