The new Hotstar original Karmma Calling, directed by Ruchi Narain, based on the ABC original Revenge, feels more like a daily soap you see on these main TV channels rather than a nuanced thriller that can captivate you with its plot development. With almost every character being so unreal on screen, this blend of posh lifestyle with Milan Luthria kind of rhyming dialogues feels so outdated, not just in terms of the written lines, but in how it unfolds as a thriller.
The story focuses on the wealthy family of Mumbai’s Alibaug, the Kothari’s. Indrani Kothari and Kaushal Kothari are this power couple with really high connections. To their neighborhood comes Karmma Talwar, a young girl with aspirations that make her a curious and suspicious character in the eyes of Indrani. The reason why Karmma is there and how she executes her plan is what we witness in this Ruchi Narain adaptation.
The most annoying thing about the writing of the series is that it just doesn’t want to make it exciting by presenting something in a refreshing way. You are given the history of Karmma in the beginning itself, and it is your standard story of betrayal and revenge. After the flat pitching of the reason for the whole thing, you hope to see a revenge drama, that will show us how skillfully she executes her plan. But what you get is a series of back-to-back episodes, where most people who made life difficult for Karmma die or face life-changing setbacks in the most creatively laziest way.
There are hardly any moments in the series that look intriguing, and the characters are so plastic that there is no mystery in them. When characters are talking to each other as if they are trying to figure out something mysterious about the other person, I was like, are all the rich people this dumb? and if yes, how did they become so rich? Barring the guy who runs the cafe, everyone else was so loud in terms of the way they present themselves that some scenes that are supposed to have some characters keep a low profile looked funny on screen.
In an interview with Film Companion, Pankaj Tripathi mentioned the loud TV serial acting where you have to do a little too much even when you are just looking out of a window to make the audience feel that you are actually looking at something or someone. It seems like Ruchi Narain’s instruction to almost all the actors in the series was to perform in that kind of a pitch, and the most disappointing one felt like the more authentic performer, and in the case of this series, it was the actor who played the role of the cafe owner Vedant. Be it a veteran like Raveena Tandon or the newbie Namrata Sheth, the accentuated drama in their performance just looks so forced, and you rarely feel any sort of empathy or even anger towards any of them because of the excessively theatrical dialogues.
From predominantly flatly lit cinematography to poorly written dialogues, the characters and the story of this series lack depth. With the series being an adaptation spanning multiple seasons, it will be interesting to see whether a second season will happen with such an insipid making. If you are planning to make your parents who are addicted to Balaji daily soaps watch some original series, then Karmma Calling might well work as a smooth upgrade.
If you are planning to make your parents who are addicted to Balaji daily soaps watch some original series, then Karmma Calling might well work as a smooth upgrade.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended