Afsos: Web Series Review
AMAZON PRIME VIDEO
Director: Anubhuti Kashyap.
Genre: Black Comedy, Thriller, Drama.
Release Date: 7th February 2020.
Platform: Amazon Prime Video.
“After much anticipation, Afsos is finally out on Amazon Prime Video. The trailer created a lot of curiosity with its bizarre concept, so does it live up to what it promised? Find out!”
The most unlucky and dejected person, Nakul is determined to end his life; he has even attempted it 11 times before. But somehow, life always holds onto him. During another one of his failed suicide attempts, he is handed a pamphlet of people who assist you in your suicide, guarantying death. Nakul chooses to be shot and hence seals his destiny with the ruthless hit-woman Upadhyay. What follows is a comedy of errors that is Nakul’s life.
As an example of the black comedy genre, back in college, we were shown Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. An erratic and bizarre compilation of dark comedy, Afsos explores a similar theme, where the multiple subplots are tied together with a thread of peculiar coincidences that somehow come together to create a piece that is exceptional in its eccentricity.
The plot starts off with a focus on Nakul (Gulshan Devaiah)- sleeping on a railway track, waiting for the train, and his death. But then the hard steel of the track is not comfortable enough for him, so he gets up and grabs a pillow from a bench on the platform. At its core, this is the dilemma of the character and the entire series- the fight between life and death; comfort and closure.
You have to appreciate Gulshan’s passive character and the way he perfectly portrays it. Despite being the lead, Nakul stays in the background, his problems overshadowed by the abnormality that seems to surround him. He is a weary man, unable to think of anything but escape from his rock bottom, because there’s nothing he has to climb towards. But he doesn’t even have the comfort of gaining that exit, waylaid by events that leave him (and you) gaping. A cleverly written anomaly, Gulshan becomes the unassuming pillar which supports everything around him.
In this generation of woke critics, portraying a topic as sensitive as depression and suicide in all its morbid glory, without making it sordid or theatrical is a feat. The writers (Anirban, Dibya, and Sourav Ghosh) successfully create an environment that walks on the thin line of satire and dark humor.
Neel Adhikari’s background score creates a melancholic and playful mood where necessary, all the while keeping it intense. The cinematography and editing also contributes in building up the characters and the complexity that surrounds Afsos.
The complexity of the series becomes it boon and its curse. As entertaining as the chaos is, it also becomes too much. Foreign scientists and assassins, Yogis guarding the key to immortality, police forces looking for a criminal, journalists looking for sensational stories- after a point, you forget that all of this is revolving and centered around Nakul. The subplots take their own life, but without a firm basis, which fails in seamless transaction. For this same reason anyone, apart from Gulshan, fails to make a lasting impression, considering its ensemble cast.
Afsos turns mundane into memorable, somber & sensitive into satire, and gives a whole new twist to dark humor. Worth a watch.
Afsos is based on a Bengali novel titled Golper Goru Chaande.
Anirban Dasgupta, the creator of Afsos, makes a cameo appearance as Shloka’s (Anjali Patil) husband Dibakar.
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