Cast: Naga Chaitanya Akkineni, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Prachi Desai, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Anish Kuruvilla, Tharun Bhascker, and others
Director: Vikram K Kumar
Writers: Poorna Prajna, K S Sripal Reddy, Naveen George Thomas
Streaming On: Amazon Prime Video
Language: Telugu with English Subtitles
Runtime: 8 episodes of 40 – 45 minutes each
Dhootha Review: What’s It About:
The word Dhootha, coming from Sanskrit roots and also called ‘Doot’ in Hindi, means ‘a messenger’ when translated into English. So what is the message, and who is the messenger in this Naga Chaitanya-led series? The messenger is a newspaper cutting, which appears every now and then in this neo-noir supernatural suspense thriller with a sharp theme in a criminal setup. Why criminal? Because that is where the best of the suspense theories exist – near, after, or before a crime scene.
So, in a classic tale of right vs wrong, good Vs bad, and ethical Vs corrupt stands a journalist, Sagar, who is ready to take the command of a leading newspaper to let the world believe that J in journalism stands for justice and they are messengers between government and people.
But what follows next is a series of suicides; everyone dying is a journalist or a family member of a journalist. Every death comes along with a newspaper cutting, which reports the same death, even before the person dies. Sagar starts collecting the truth, trying to save everyone who is about to die. So, does he succeed? How does one fight with supernatural events? Well, he lives to solve the suspense, but what happens to others and why – constitutes a gripping tale baked just so soft and perfect right out of the oven that you would want to gulp it down.
Dhootha Review: What Works:
Three things are definitely a green flag in this supernatural suspense thriller – A. Naga Chaitanya Akkineni, who somehow fits like a jigsaw puzzle in this perfectly cooked story. B. The premise is age-old yet seems so fresh that you would not have seen something like this in a long time. C. The background score is so eerie, dark, and regular, yet it perfectly slips in and blends beautifully with the theme and the episodes. Full points to composer Ishaan Chhabra for creating such a brilliant sync with the storyline.
Vikram K Kumar and his writing team also deserve a good round of applause for making all the nuisances of this storyline so unbelievably believable that you are invested in the story. The premise has been set in the world of journalism and the fight between ethics and morals; Vikram’s writing team of Poorna Prajna, K S Sripal Reddy, and Naveen George Thomas win hearts as they never let the story slide away. Despite being a little deviation from the main theme, which includes an extramarital affair and some more unnecessary distractions, the story of Dhootha is focused on the plot.
Another bright part of this series is the action choreography done by Venkat. The way all the murders happen is so snappy and so well shot that they create intrigue rather than shake anyone or disgust anyone!
It is definitely very difficult to keep audiences involved in supernatural thrillers without guessing the verdict or finding the loopholes. However, this web series is devoid of any such weak points. It keeps you engrossed throughout, and you are so hooked that you want the director to lead you to the conclusion rather than being impatient and guessing it for yourself.
Dhootha Review: Star Performance:
Naga Chaitanya Akkineni is so convincing in this role that someone needs to tell him that he never needed to do anything like Laal Singh Chaddha and should never repeat such a role in his life! Doesn’t matter how big the star is, but he should never let his potential go to waste on building a chaddhi company in some Bollywood flick. He himself is so convinced with this story that he makes you believe in it. The pure talent an actor commands in his work.
Prachi Desai, after so long, was a breath of fresh air, but her arc was sacrificed entirely to let the story shine. She turned into one of those characters who are there is a suspense thriller just to confuse and proceed.
Priya Bhavani Shankar, as Sagar’s wife, and Parvathy Thiruvothu, as Kranthi, also shine in their parts. But guess who performs the best in the series? It is the short newspaper cuttings that appear out of nowhere and take the story to the next plot so beautifully.
Dhootha Review: What Doesn’t Work:
The only thing that doesn’t work in this web series seems to be the loose edit. Despite being an engaging suspense thriller with a brilliantly incorporated supernatural theme, the series is still slow at its pace. Everything happens but way too slowly. In fact, you won’t miss a single thing if you watch it in 1.5 X or 2X, we can assure you. It might even interest you better.
Dhootha Review: Last Words:
In all, you would love watching Dhootha, and it is a gripping suspense that keeps you hanging in till the end to reveal the mystery, which might not have been surprising or shocking. But it is just how it happens that takes away the cake.
Four stars from our side for this brilliantly baked Neo-Noir, which offers way more than its trailer!