Rating – 8/10
Set in a dystopian society where government closely regulates everything, education controlled to a point where anything apart from the state provided syllabus amounts to being charged with sedition.
Ghoul is mini-series consisting of three episodes totaling a total of 2 hours 16 minutes, is a brilliantly well shot series that maintains a dark and serious tone throughout the three episodes with the setting consistent with the tone of the series. Kudos Cinematographer and editor.
Radhika Apte plays Nida Rahim – A firm believer of the state ideology- is top of her class in a NPS (National protection service?) an Army branch that trains the officers in various skills. And when she is suddenly called to a secretive military detention facility that is located somewhere remotely five weeks before her training is scheduled to end, she is informed by her commander –Played by Manav Kaul – that it was because of her excellent academics and the fact that she did not hesitate in turning over her father to the forces for anti-national activities.
The facility named Meghdoot -31, is a facility used for the torture of the ‘Terrorists’ by the interrogators.
While watching the series I was reminded of various themes at some point or the other.
The windows are blacked out ensuring that no light is allowed to enter the facility, keeping the prisoners in dark about the time of the day. This reminded me of Pacino in Insomnia where he struggles to work and adapt in an all-Light scenario. Thankfully the personal here were pretty good in adapting themselves.
They have also managed to use the idea behind ‘And there were none’ pretty sharply and effectively over the series by creating multiple such scenarios.
When the terrorist mastermind Ali Saeed Yacub is brought in, his fellow prisoners are in disbelief that the man of his intelligence could’ve been caught. As soon as he is brought out of the van the German shepherds who were continuously barking at the van, go into a submission on the sight of Yacub adding to the of fear the man carried with him.
Mahesh Balraj does not have any lines for a few minutes neither does he display a lot of expressions but even then he commands the screen in a room full of acting talents.
A ghoul is a monster or a demon originating from the pre-Islamic Arabian religion associated with graveyards or consuming flesh and they make this point effectively as Balraj begins to whisper in a language that one of the prisoners calls pre-Islamic Arabian.
What works for the series apart from cinematography, editing, background score and acting is the fact that even though it may feel rushed in establishing the background at the beginning of the episode, it feels perfect at the end as they keep filling in the story one line at a time the type of rules and society that the characters are living in.
Ghoul is a must watch, it wasn’t quite exactly a horror series but something to keep you on the edge of your seats, or beds (Netflix ftw).
Ps- I personally liked the casting of Faulad singh, connecting the horrors of the past to present.