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Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein Assessment: A Pulpy Thriller That’s Emblematic of Netflix India

Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein — now streaming on Netflix — has an inherent promising black comedy setup at its core. In it, a strong politician’s doe-eyed daughter Purva Awasthi (Anchal Singh, from Undekhi) has had her eyes on the accountant’s veritable small-fry son Vikrant “Vicky” Singh Chauhan (Tahir Raj Bhasin, from Chhichhore) since they have been children in school. (Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein’s premise can be creepy on a number of ranges should you have been to gender flip the entire thing. However that is a distinct debate.) And since Vikrant is extraordinarily beloved to Purva, not one of the dozens of henchmen and enforcers that work for Purva’s dad, who roughly runs the city, dare lay a finger on him. Vikrant’s life is sort of nicely protected, although neither he nor the Netflix sequence take a lot benefit of that.

That is largely as a result of Vikrant is — merely put — a coward. Even his desires are purposefully small, virtually as if he is scared that have been he to need extra, the universe would possibly retaliate or one thing. And that is actually what Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein is actually thinking about: Vikrant’s transformation. Creator, director, author, co-producer, and showrunner Sidharth Sengupta (Apharan) — whether or not the brand new Indian Netflix sequence goes proper or fallacious, there’s one man to reward or blame — needs to depict the sluggish however inevitable descent of a person who’s caught between sticking to his rules and pulling out of Purva’s orbit.

Besides Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein takes too lengthy to get there — and the journey just isn’t remotely fascinating or intriguing sufficient. At instances, it looks like Sengupta took a movie-length narrative and stretched it to suit an eight-part first season (that ends on a cliffhanger). It is also so closely plot-driven that it will get tiring after some extent. If there is a straight path obtainable from level A to level B, Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein will take three detours on the way in which. All the things is made unnecessarily sophisticated. It needs to drive its characters into uncomfortable conditions, however finds inelegant methods to get itself there. It is like Sengupta writes himself right into a nook, then simply chooses to surrender, as an alternative of discovering a greater route.

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When it isn’t predictable — Sengupta tries to promote us on deaths that aren’t plausible to start with — it retains data from the viewers to propel its thrills and thriller. And on a couple of event, the brand new Indian Netflix sequence lies to viewers to arrange its twists and turns. And roughly halfway by, Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein primarily jumps the shark — I am unable to converse to specifics as a result of spoilers, save to say it is wholly illogical, however Sengupta merely drives on, as if pretending that we’re too dumb to catch on. Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein can also be irritating on the entire as the primary season is left intentionally incomplete. Netflix does not have a very good observe report of greenlighting future seasons of its Indian authentic sequence; it is attainable we would by no means see its threads wrapped up.

Set in a nondescript fictional Uttar Pradesh small-town referred to as Onkara, Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein opens with an Othello quote, however bears no connections to the Shakespeare play. The Netflix sequence revolves across the aforementioned Vikrant (Bhasin) whose first-episode voiceover takes us by his formative years till current day. The menace that’s Purva ruined his childhood, Vikrant claims, as a result of she was at all times after him. His luck modified after she left city halfway by their education years — Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein by no means tells us why — earlier than Vikrant met and immediately fell for Shikha (Shweta Tripathi Sharma, in a thankless position) throughout his faculty years. Vikrant and Shikha’s love story is informed fully by way of a track; Shikha is much less a personality and extra a Vikrant prop.

However all that goes for a toss in Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein after Purva (Singh) returns to Onkara. After Vikrant’s accountant dad Suryakant Singh Chauhan (Brijendra Kala, from The Aam Aadmi Household) pushes him to work for his grasp, the notorious politician Akheraj Awasthi (Saurabh Shukla, from Jolly LLB), Vikrant is as soon as once more thrust again into Purva’s orbit. And this time, it is like being sucked right into a black gap. Purva shortly wins over the Chauhans by getting her dad to pay Vikrant much more than his Bhilai engineering job (all for managing Zumba dance lessons that she runs, humiliating him within the course of) and giving Vikrant’s sister (Hetal Gada, from Dhanak) a job too. Purva is attempting to entice ‘em all. And as Vikrant tries to get out of her thumb, she makes the household’s life hell in response.

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Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein Netflix review Anchal Singh Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein Netflix review

Anchal Singh in Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein
Photograph Credit score: Priyanka Kala/Netflix

Nonetheless, Vikrant does not need something to do with Purva — in any case, Shikha and he need one another — and he does little to cover it. Why then is Purva insistent on getting Vikrant to be his? As a result of he is the one one who did not need her in class. The lady being the instigator flips the normal guy-stalking-girl mould (that is been deeply romanticised by Bollywood) although regardless of that, it is the person who causes extra injury on Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein. Perhaps that is a means for Sengupta to touch upon how males simply take into consideration themselves, how males are the worst. It is Vikrant’s actions — or slightly inaction (plus flip-flip selections) — that push Shikha and her household into extra hassle than Vikrant and his household need to cope with. It is Shikha who has to demean herself, due to Vikrant.

A few of this might have Gone Lady-esque vibes if Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein knew what it was doing. However alas, that is an excessive amount of to count on. Tonally, the brand new Indian Netflix sequence is in every single place. There’s goofy comedy infused randomly in locations. At instances, it provides into the temper of the event and forgets the character’s temper. It upends the dynamic between characters to go well with the narrative, utterly ignoring what it established throughout a number of episodes. Extra annoyingly, most of its characters are stationary and do not develop. Naturally, Vikrant’s arc is the deepest — however you solely really feel that as a result of Sengupta offers such a poor hand to everybody else. Besides Vikrant, the remainder of them exist merely to maneuver the plot alongside.

And it does not assist that Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein operates in a really heightened actuality. On some stage, it is a bizarro comedy however wrapped up in an intense drama. A personality will provide you with a loopy plan, earlier than forcing different characters to go together with it, which in flip pushes the Netflix sequence onto a extra absurd stage. At instances, it looks like Sengupta is pushing himself to provide you with a an increasing number of contrived and convoluted plot — as a result of he does not know what else to do.

On prime of that, Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein will do something for impact, slightly than have a look at what is sensible given the scenario or the characters concerned. There are such a lot of WTF moments within the new Indian Netflix sequence, leaving the viewers no time to debate or react to them. (It is a trait Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein shares with Netflix’s earlier Indian thriller sequence, the Raveena Tandon-led Aranyak, from December final 12 months.) You could be tempted to say that Netflix India is kicking off 2022 on a horrible notice — however outdoors of a pair relatively-better-off titles, that is now the rule slightly than the exception. Simply have a look at what it gave us final 12 months.

Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein launched Friday, January 14 at 1:30pm IST on Netflix.

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