Name – Dhootha
Type – Web Series
Language – Telugu
OTT Platform – Amazon Prime
Genre – Supernatural Thriller
No. of Episodes – 8
With the Vikram Kumar-directed Dhootha, Telegu superstar Naga Chaitanya makes his OTT debut. Boasting an enviable cast comprising Parvathy Thiruvothu, Prachi Desai, Pasupathy & Priya Bhavani Shankar, the web series holds the attention of its viewers throughout its duration.
Sagar Varma Avuduri is a successful and affluent journalist, with a rocking family life. But suddenly, he begins to see newspaper clips that foretell the deaths of his near and dear ones. It’s only after the brutal death of his daughter that he begins to look inward and investigate the reason behind the inexplicable phenomena. Why do only corrupt media personnel end up dead? Who is the ghost?
The series moves at a fast pace, keeping the viewers on the edge of their seats. Though supernatural elements are at the helm, the director refrains from scary jump shots and stereotypical spectral figures, and ties up all the loose ends neatly, justifying every deed (or misdeed) of the characters.
The series is a slap in the face for those few who claim to uphold the integrity of the fourth pillar of democracy, yet do not hesitate for a quid pro quo with the ministers.
However, Dhootha is not without its flaws.
All the action spans out during heavy rains. It does add to the spookiness but drills holes into the plot. All traces usually get wiped out in the flowy waters, but here they miraculously present themselves to the investigation officer Kranthi Shenoy. For a person associated with the media, Sagar makes a mistake too many. Prachi Desai as Amrutha is the unnecessary third wheel in the cog. Also, why don’t affluent people have inverters or generators in their homes and resort to candlelight in the darkness? Also, the final minutes seemed rushed, with the fates of the leads almost unknown.
Naga Chaitanya is good-looking, but the series demanded an actor who could emote and bring out the greyness of a morally defunct character. The talented Parvathy is reduced to a poker-faced investigator who is so keen an observer, that she can solve a case from 1962 just by looking at random dog-eared papers. Pasupathy as the upright Sathya Murthy is the saving grace of the show, who makes the viewers empathise with his cause.
The nitpicks notwithstanding, Dhootha makes for an engaging watch. It has its heart in the right place and proves to be a good messenger by conveying what it wants. I just wish it were shot a bit more realistically.
A note to the aspiring filmmakers – Substance over style, please!
A note to the viewers – It is a one-time watch, but if you do, then take a pen and paper and note down the things that jarred your reasoning. You might come up with a full A4 paper.
3/5 [I wish it could be a 4, but I must deduct a few points for the loopholes & the ending]