With the release of the very first trailer of it, Netflix’s miniseries Ghoul has succeeded in grabbing the attention of all the TV-series lovers and fans of the horror genre. And why would it not may I ask! With Netflix, releasing some of the best original television series over the past few months, (Special mention: Sacred Games) won’t we all have already become glued to it! And then the trailer of Radhika Apte, and Manav Kaul, Ratnabali Bhattacharjee starrer, Ghoul, simply made us desperately wait for its release.
If I’m not wrong, by now almost 90% of the movie buffs and Netflix followers have already watched Ghoul. But, if in any case, you are among the remaining 10 % who haven’t watched this mini horror series yet, then beware, beware, this blog may contain spoilers ahead.
Written and directed by the British writer and director Patrick Graham, and produced by the Blumhouse Productions, Ivanhoe Pictures, and Phantom Films, Ghoul is the first Indian original web television horror mini-series. Consisting of three episodes, this miniseries comes packed with outstanding performance, perfect elements of horror, impressive cinematography, amazing sound effects and a perfect dystopian setup.
Ghoul begins with the depiction of India as a military dictatorial state in not-too-distant future where the government holds the absolute power. In the name of national security, the government is shown to detain people, actually the Muslims only, at every slightest suspicion. Once in detention, the prisoners are subjected to inhumane interrogations and barbaric torture because of belonging to a certain community and are eventually killed.
Meanwhile, the protagonist is shown initially to have complete faith in the system and later starting to question her own beliefs and realizing what she has done wrong. Reflecting a dystopian nightmare, the plot introduces ‘ghoul’ (an evil spirit that takes the form of people after killing and eating them) who is summoned by one of the tortured prisoners. While the search for the prisoner who summoned the ghoul begins, the startling graphics shows the Ghoul running havoc in the interrogation center, leading to the most shocking and unsettling revelations.
Things I Liked
Radhika Apte as Nida Rahim
If I’m allowed to praise only one thing about this miniseries, it would definitely be Radhika Apte’s performance. This Indian actress is a pure delight to watch. Her portrayal of the character of Nida Rahim in Ghoul is simply mind-boggling. Be it as a patriot, a law-abiding citizen, a brave soldier or a confused daughter, Radhika simply shines in all of them. It is her strong acting abilities and expressions that makes Rahim real and the depiction scarier.
And not only the lead, from Manav Kaul to Ratnabali Bhattacharjee, each character has made their roles alive and realistic on-screen leaving no space for pointing out any disputes.
Being a Hollywood horror movie fan, I always felt that Bollywood is terrible at making horror movies. Not only the horror films of India end up having cheap effects, but the supernatural portrayals are so poor that it becomes really hard to believe or feel scared. However, with Ghoul, I’m happy to say that India has finally shined in the horror genre. This miniseries has potentials enough to give the India-made horror stories something worth feeling proud about.
Maintaining a consistently gloomy mood and dark ambiance, while executing a perfect mixing of sounds, Ghoul can certainly be hailed as the India-made horror miniseries of Hollywood quality. Yes, it’s true that you may not get jump scares every now and then if that you’re expecting eagerly; but the intriguing plot, scary tale of events and appreciable storyline will certainly suck all your attention.
Last but not the least, resorting to the legend of Ghoul, a Jinn, as an allegory and blending it masterfully with the theme is worth mentioning.
Things I Didn’t Like
Though I strongly recommend everyone who has not watched it yet to go for it, there a few things that I personally didn’t like in this mini horror series. If you’ve grown up watching the Hitchcock thrillers, Roman Polanski or have developed a likeness for Guillermo del Toro, James Wan, Na Hong-jin, then there are parts of Ghoul that may not be satisfactory enough.
For example, after creating high expectations and quite a fuss about the character of Faulad Singh, the script failed to do justice with the role. This awaited character simply lost all its gravity suddenly and fades away within a few minutes after appearing on the screen.
The portrayal of dystopian India is grim and gloomy. But, the Hindus controlling the world in the near future and destroying the Muslim culture seems a bit partial political bragging. Assuming every Muslim to be a terrorist or a sheer threat to the country and the counter defense of the Muslims stating that they are not dangerous reminded me of “My name is Khan (Or, in this case, Rahim or Saeed or Maulvi) and I’m not a terrorist”. This typical Hindu-Muslim enmity as the socio-political milieu to trigger the plot complication seem quite lame, and at points, even exaggerated.
But then again, as a first original web series from India, all the actors and actresses deserve a big round of applause for their brilliant acting in Ghoul. Letting the protagonist as well the viewers realize what is right and what is wrong and understand guilt to be the fine line between the two, Ghoul succeeds in grasping the attention the way it intended to. After all, Ghoul is not just an ordinary horror story; there’s more to it which gradually unfolds through the legend of the Ghoul.
My Rating: 7.5 out of 10