She Review (Netflix): Yeah! That same Imtiaz Ali who has redefined the meaning of love many-a-times in Bollywood. He’s the one who has penned this (along with Divya Johry) and at first, I wasn’t sure how to react but now, I know how. Imtiaz accumulates all the darkness he’s unable to show his in films for various reasons and force it in this one. Is it worth it? Read on!
Cast: Aaditi Pohankar, Vijay Varma, Vishwas Kini, Kishore Kumar G, Shivani Rangole
Available On: Netflix
She Review (Netflix): What Is It About?
Remember what Geetika Ohlyan managed to pull off in Netflix’s 2018 police-drama Soni? Bhumi Pardeshi (Aaditi Pohankar) is a kind-of extension to her character but with different goals. Despite working for the police, Bhumi is pressurized to fit into certain stereotypes which she’s certainly not fond of. Looking after an ailing mother and pompous sister Rupa (Shivani Rangole), Bhumi gets appointed for an undercover mission and is posed as a sex-worker, to arrest a drug-lord named Nayak where she meets Sasya (Vijay Varma).
She Review (Netflix): What’s Good?
Along with building a scenario for catching a deadly drug-lord in Nayak, the show is never really about him. Imtiaz’s signature move of ‘confused emotions’ keeps the show intrigued despite the flaws. Peeling the layers of Bhumi’s character on-by-one, the narrative manages to back it with something which you presume to be the main plot.
The story plays with your head evoking multiple thoughts like – “Is she having fun? Or is she feeling punished?” For the die-hard Imtiaz Ali fans, you have a couple of ‘mirror realisation’ scenes, a homeless man and a whole layer of ‘Tu koi aur hai’ subtext. It all gets interesting when Imtiaz decides to make you uncomfortable while exploring Bhumi’s character. Dipping it into mild-erotica, Imtiaz plays with your mind using Bhumi.
It’s sometimes bizarre to see an actor getting so much comfortable in uncomfortable roles. Bhumi is one such role for Aaditi Pohankar. She’s so damn convincing with her act that even during the show you get confused if she’s with the police or is really a sex-worker.
Vijay Varma owns the frame he is in. He’s someone you look out for when the show starts to drag. He deserved more, to begin with, and also a better ‘bid adieu’ to end with. Nevertheless, an extraordinary performance which was just a ‘good writing’ away from being a classic.
Kishore Kumar G plays an important role in the show which I’ll not reveal because of spoilers. He’s subtle at it and enjoys a really interesting character graph. With less screen-space, he gets in your head better & this is what Vijay’s character lacked towards the end. Shivani Rangole is stupendous as Rupa (Bhumi’s sister). She has all the siblings’ traits and has no complexity as the other characters.
She Review (Netflix): What Doesn’t Work?
The show actually starts when it’s about to end. Towards the second last episode and the whole last episode, the buzzed-up interest gets burdened by first five episodes. The story is penned in a way, at any point the next ten minutes are very clear for you and there are no huge shockers (barring couple towards the end). Most of the planned thrills fail to thrill you taking the story forward just for the sake of it.
Just into the first episode and the initial 15 minutes show a whole lot of things taking away the mystery from the rest of it. This happens to a couple of episodes, Directors Arif Ali and Avinash Das’ execution takes away the surprise.
Amidst a powerhouse of performances, Vishwas Kini’s character (Fernandez) gets brutally compromised. His character brings no substantial change despite being such an important one. He tries hard to bring a dead character to life.
She Review (Netflix): Last Word
All said and done, watch She for what it is and not what it’s presented as. The subtext of the show is stronger than the story and a few wondrous performances hold it together.