The Telugu series Dayaa is directed by Pavan Sadineni and stars JD Chakravarthy, Eesha Rebba, Remya Nambeesan, Babloo Prithviraj, Kamal Kamaraju, Josh Ravi.

Where can you watch Dayaa in the UAE?

Dayaa is currently streaming on Disney+ in the UAE and the Middle East.

Dayaa review

Those who had seen the Bengali web series (from Bangladesh) Taqdeer would have been impressed by how a suspenseful drama can also be purveyed as a moral drama. Set in gritty Dhaka, Taqdeer, even within the ambit of a murder mystery, presented adroitly sharp takes on the socioeconomic disparities in many societies (especially in the sub-continent).

Now, the same story has arrived in Telugu. And even though the milieu is changed — here it is Kakinada and Hyderabad — the plot is largely similar. Even though the treatment was more realistic, the director Pavan Sadineni keeps the flow going and is largely helped by the characters’ solid writing. And the acting of the lead players, both realistic and restrained, also helps the director stay firm.

The story is simple but has complex layers that add to its allure. The eponymous Dayaa (JD Chakravarthy) is the van’s driver carrying frozen fish from Kakinada port. On the face of it, his life is uncomplicated with his wife Alivelu (Eesha Rebba) being pregnant. And shattering the seeming quietude of his unremarkable life is a dead body that he finds among the frozen fish in his van. Suddenly, his life is no longer what we are led to believe initially. He and his friend Prabha (Josh Ravi) set out to dispose of the body. And the way they go about it invites events that they are not prepared for.  They figure out that the body is that of the no-nonsense television journalist Kavitha (Remya Nambeesan). Her upright ways had run afoul of the venal politico Parasurama Raju (Babloo Prithviraj), whose dutiful hatchet man is Kabir (Nandagopal). Then there is the energetic Shabana (Vishnupriyaa Bhimeneni), Kavitha’s colleague, who is also an important part of the mix.

The story, told in flash-cuts, goes back and forth and links all the disparate characters in a believable knot. The characters aren’t one-dimensional and are made up of vice and virtue, making the ride enjoyable and intriguing. The dynamics of the various relationships are different and variegated and this helps the proceedings stay taut. But even then, the 8-episode series (roughly 30 mins each) does feel a bit long. 

But even if the pacing is an issue, the series is largely salvaged through solid performance. JD Chakravarthy, who has a stony deadpan face, is perfect for the van driver Dayaa whose past should not be reflected on his face. The inevitable reference to his Satyaa is also there. Remya Nambeesan, as the spunky journo is sharp, and so is Vishnupriya as her co-worker. Josh Ravi, Nandagopal and others are always on the ball, providing the series with much-needed solidity. 

Rakendu Mouli, the writer, is an able ally to the director Pavan, who shows a firm understanding of style and substance. On the whole, Dayaa delivers what it promises — an interesting thriller with some socio-economic commentary.

Balakumar Kuppuswamy
Balakumar Kuppuswamy

An engineer-turned-journalist, K Balakumar’s career began in print publications as a sports writer. That also opened doors for other journalistic avenues like films, music, finance, technology and politics, which nobody can escape in India. After 30 yrs in mainstream journalism, now a freelancer for various digital publications.

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