The initial reaction of almost everyone to the trailer of the latest Amazon Prime Video web series Rasbhari would be “Whats an Alt-Balaji series doing on Amazon?”. The trailer is constructed as the adolescent lust obsession of a teenager and in fact, the first 3 episodes of the series have all the elements to make you hate this silly show. But Rasbhari isn’t the sensuality show we thought it was. But the muddled screenplay just couldn’t create that charm factor to the preachy tale that ultimately tries to say, please don’t judge.
Nand Kishore Tyagi, a teenage plus-two student, is our main character. His idea of wooing a girl is pretty much creepy and he is determined to open his Khata (lose virginity) before 12th. At that time, a new English teacher named Shanoo Bansal joins the school and falling for her physical attire Nand decides to hit on her. His attempt to get into that intimate space with his teacher and how things went on an entirely different track after a point is what you get to see in Rasbhari.
Some people reacted to the trailer of the series furiously sighting it as some kind of unethical thing. But this topic of the sexual obsession of teenage boys towards older women has produced many classics like Malena, Rathinirvedham, etc. Structurally Rasbhari is also on the similar side. First, you are looking at the teacher from the point of view of the boy and after a point, the boy himself starts to realize that what he imagined had a different side to it. While a movie like Malena succeeds in showing the viewer how bad the society was against the title protagonist, here things are way too light. Shanoo Bansal at one point tells Nand that one shouldn’t assume things about others and the series was pretty much over by that point. But when a major revelation happens post that point, the script is lingering on to ideas that don’t really need that much of space. And eventually, we feel that they are kind of stretching it for the sake of being a series; I am talking about an 8 episode series with an average episode runtime of around 24 minutes.
Swara Bhaskar’s main character has two extremes. The actress is fine in both shades of that character, but it is definitely not a character that challenges her caliber. Ayushmaan Saxena as Nand was effective as the rectified young one who eventually understood how to treat women. Rashmi Agdekar as Nand’s crush Priyanka is also very likable on screen. The screenplay is such that we don’t get to see enough of these characters to talk about their performances. Most of them have to deal with a single tone character.
Like I already said, the structuring of the story is fine. And when you look at the detour the series takes after a point, one can sense that titillating the viewer with sensual visuals is not the main agenda of director Nikhil Bhatt and writer Shantanu Srivastava. But it is the lack of real excitement in that detour that makes Rasbhari just a watchable passable comedy with absolutely no takeaways. The dual shade of the character is introduced in a very abrupt way and even the satiric tone of the series changes drastically. The track in the movie that has women bitching about the teacher also fails to shift gears in a smooth way. You get what they want to convey at a very early point and thereafter the series becomes a shallow lecture about how to behave, how not to judge, the importance of respect, etc. The cinematography is using brighter visuals mostly to keep us in that lighter zone of mere comedy entertainment.
Rasbhari is way too thin on a content level when you look at the statements it wishes to make. After a point, it is like those YouTube web series episodes where you don’t really remember them for their craft, but are passable primarily because of the texture of humor. The series ends with a possibility for a second season, and I hope they will have a tidier script for that.
Rasbhari is way too thin on a content level when you look at the statements it wishes to make.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended