Bhaukaal: Web Series Review
Director: Jatin Wagle.
Genre: Crime, Action, Drama.
Release Date: 6th March 2020.
Platform: MX Player.
“MX Player’s latest series Bhaukaal, starring Mohit Raina, is your usual cop-criminal drama. So what makes it worth a watch? Find out!”
SSP Naveen Sikhera is posted to Muzaffarnagar, a city ruled by two mobsters- Shaukeen and Dedha brothers. Crime runs rampant here, people trust these goons more than police and turn blind eye towards death and massacre. Naveen’s aim is to restore people’s belief in the system and uproot the criminals, come what may. Will he succeed in his goal with his conscience intact?
Released out of blue, MX Player’s Bhaukaal came as surprise, and a good one at that. Inspired by true events, the series is your typical cop-criminal-chase drama, but it grabs your attention until the end with its crisp and to-the-point portrayal of crime, action and drama.
The story starts with a daring police officer, Naveen Sikhera (Mohit Raina) who isn’t afraid of taking drastic measures when it comes to upholding the welfare of common people. When he enters into the chaotic mess that is Muzaffarnagar, the ignorance and nonchalance of the common people to the bloodshed baffles him, leaving him grasping at the threads when it comes to applying preventive actions. But when he does get a hang of the situation, he straddles the fine line between a vigilante and a guardian, with a calm demeanor that hides the turbulent waters running deep within. Mohit Raina portrays this balance between emotion and logic of his character perfectly.
The director establishes Bhaukaal finely in the first episode- you get proper character introductions, the conflict of the story takes root firmly in the playground that is Muzaffarnagar. With this detailed introduction to the story, Bhaukaal goes forward on a rollercoaster ride through the war that rages between Naveen and Shaukeen dominantly.
Shaukeen, played by Abhimanyu Singh, rules over the east of Muzaffarnagar, a silent tyrant who kills anyone that dares stand in his path without any remorse. His deathly calm, shayari-spewing, god-believing persona is strong in its menace, and Abhimanyu translates him well on screen. The Dedha brothers, played by Siddhant and Pradeep, are the counter opposite. Crazy and impulsive, the reason they are subordinate in power to Shaukeen is clear in their hot-headedness, and we can’t wait to see their reign being explored in the new season, as hinted.
Bhaukaal takes place in a small town of Uttar Pradesh, and every character has the local dialect that they thankfully don’t butcher or overdo.
The not-so-new story of Bhaukaal feels fresh and watchable as it creates a proper amount of anticipation and thrill. Several deaths and close calls make you hold your breath, and agonize over the outcome. One scene specifically stands out, when Sikhera and Shaukeen both lose two people very close to them. Their character traits interchange in the face of the tragedy, as the outspoken Naveen internalizes his rage while the calm façade of Shaukeen breaks in fury that threatens to burn done the city. Both the actors are commendable in the scene, giving goosebump-worthy performances.
Bhaukaal is an ordinary story made sublime by its performances and twists. The execution- background music, visuals- add nothing new or noteworthy. It’s not something you will watch and remember; while it holds your attention, you’ll forget it as soon as it’s over. Neither the characters nor the story leaves a lasting impact on viewers.
It also tries to explore the women characters with strength and depth, but fails. The three woman who play an important part in the lead characters’ lives- Sikhera’s wife Pooja (Rashmi Rajput), Shaukeen’s mistress Nazneen (Bidita Bag), and the reporter Neha (Gulki Joshi)- deserved much more screen space and representation than they got. The actors make it work in their slot, but they would have done much better if their characters were sketched out more.
Bhaukaal is an engaging crime drama that will keep you hooked. Worth a watch.
Jatin Wagle has previously directed Poison, a crime thriller by ZEE5.
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