Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein – now streaming on Netflix – has an inherently promising black comedy setting at its core. In it, the daughter of a powerful politician, Purva Awasthi (Anchal Singh, of Undekhi) has had her eye on the accountant’s real young son, Vikrant “Vicky” Singh Chauhan (Tahir Raj Bhasin, of Chhichhore) since they were kids in school. (Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein’s premise would be scary on many levels if you switched genders. But that’s a different debate.) And because Vikrant is extremely loved by Purva, none of the dozens of henchmen and enforcers who work for Purva’s my father, who more or less manages the city, dares to lay a finger on him. Vikrant’s life is very well protected, although neither he nor the Netflix series takes much advantage of it.
This is largely because Vikrant is – quite simply – a coward. Even his dreams are purposefully small, almost as if he’s afraid that if he wanted more, the universe might retaliate or something. And that’s really what Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein is really interested in: Vikrant’s transformation. Creator, director, writer, co-producer and showrunner Sidharth Sengupta (Apharan) – whether Netflix’s new Indian series goes right or wrong, there’s a man to praise or blame – wants to portray the slow but inevitable descent of a man who is arrested. between maintaining his principles and getting out of Purva’s orbit.
Except Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein takes a long time to get there – and the journey isn’t remotely interesting or intriguing enough. Sometimes it feels like Sengupta has taken a film narrative and stretched it to fit into an eight-part first season (which ends on a cliffhanger). It’s also so heavily plot-based that it gets tiresome after a point. If there is a straight path available from point A to point B, Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein will make three detours along the way. Everything is made unnecessarily complicated. He wants to force his characters into uncomfortable situations, but finds inelegant ways to get there. It’s as if Sengupta writes himself into a corner and simply chooses to give up rather than find a better route.
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When it’s not predictable – Sengupta tries to sell us deaths that aren’t believable to begin with – he keeps public information to boost his emotions and mystery. And on more than one occasion, Netflix’s new Indian series lies to viewers to set up its twists. And about halfway through, Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein essentially jumps the shark – I can’t go into detail because spoilers, except to say it’s totally illogical, but Sengupta just moves on, as if pretending we’re too dumb to understand. . Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein is also frustrating overall as the first season is deliberately incomplete. Netflix doesn’t have a good track record of greening future seasons of its Indian original series; it is possible that we will never see its tangled wires.
Set in a fictional small town in Uttar Pradesh called Onkara, Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein begins with a othello quote, but has no connections to Shakespeare’s play. The Netflix series revolves around the aforementioned Vikrant (Bhasin), whose narration of the first episode takes us from the beginning of his life to the present day. The threat that is Purva ruined his childhood, claims Vikrant, because she was always after him. Her luck changed after she left town midway through her school years – Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein never tells us why – before Vikrant met and instantly fell in love with Shikha (Shweta Tripathi Sharma, in an ungrateful role) during her years. of college. Vikrant and Shikha’s love story is told entirely through music; Shikha is less a character and more a prop for Vikrant.
But all this goes for a bid on Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein after Purva (Singh) returns to Onkara. After Vikrant’s accountant father Suryakant Singh Chauhan (Brijendra Kala of the Aam Aadmi Family) pushes him to work for his master, the infamous politician Akheraj Awasthi (Saurabh Shukla of Jolly LLB), Vikrant is once again pushed back. to the orbit of Purva. And this time, it’s like being sucked into a black hole. Purva quickly wins over the Chauhans by getting her father to pay Vikrant much more than his Bhilai engineering job (all to manage the Zumba dance classes she runs, humiliating him in the process) and giving Vikrant’s sister (Hetal Gada , by Dhanak) a work too. Purva is trying to arrest them all. And as Vikrant tries to get off her thumb, she makes the family’s life hell in response.
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Still, Vikrant wants nothing to do with Purva – after all, Shikha and he want each other – and he does little to hide it. Why then does Purva insist on making Vikrant his? Because he’s the only one who didn’t want her at school. The woman being the instigator changes the traditional mold of chasing girls (which has been deeply romanticized by Bollywood), although despite this, it is the man who does the most damage to Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein. Maybe it’s Sengupta’s way of commenting on how men think about themselves, how men are the worst. It’s Vikrant’s actions – or rather inaction (plus flip-flip choices) – that get Shikha and her family into more trouble than Vikrant and his family have to deal with. It is Shikha who has to lower himself, because of Vikrant.
Some of it could have Gone Girl vibes if Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein knew what she was doing. But, unfortunately, this is expecting too much. Tonally, Netflix’s new Indian series is all over the place. There is goofy comedy randomly infused in some places. Sometimes he gives in to the mood of the occasion and forgets the character’s mood. It inverts the dynamics between the characters to suit the narrative, completely ignoring what it has established across multiple episodes. Most annoyingly, most of your characters are stationary and don’t grow. Naturally, Vikrant’s arc is the deepest – but you only feel it because Sengupta gives such a bad hand to everyone else. Except for Vikrant, the rest of them exist simply to drive the plot forward.
And it doesn’t help that Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein operates in a very high reality. On some level, it’s a bizarre comedy, but wrapped in intense drama. One character will come up with a crazy plan, before forcing other characters to go along with it, which in turn takes the Netflix series to a more absurd level. Sometimes it seems like Sengupta is struggling to create an increasingly elaborate and complicated plot – because he doesn’t know what else to do.
Also, Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein will do anything to have an effect rather than looking at what makes sense given the situation or characters involved. There are so many WTF moments in Netflix’s new Indian series, leaving audiences with no time to discuss or react to them. (It’s a trait Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein shares with Netflix’s previous Raveena Tandon-led Indian thriller series Aranyak from last December.) Some relatively better titles, this is now the rule rather than the exception. Just look at what you gave us last year.
Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein was released Friday, January 14 at 1:30 pm IST on Netflix.