The Hindi web series Kaala Paani is directed by Sameer Saxena and Amit Golani and stars Mona Singh, Vikas Kumar, Ashutosh Gowariker, Amey Wagh, Sukant Goel, Radhika Mehrotra.
Where can you watch Kaala Paani in the UAE?
Kaala Paani is now available to stream on Netflix.
When the series Kaala Paani was announced, there was a feeling that not much imagination had gone into its title. The show is centred on Andaman & Nicobar, and one instantly associates the infamous Cellular Jail in the quaint islands. The prison was known by the name Kaala Pani, and many of you may remember the 1996 Malayalam movie of the same name.
So could they not have named the series differently? Well, once you watch the 7-episode series, you do understand the larger relevance of the title as it also stands for the reference to isolation and seclusion. While patterned as a survival drama the series rises above that and makes some pertinent observations on the need to preserve endangered environments and the importance of safeguarding indigenous tribes that occupy these quaint places.
Though the concerns of the story are immediate, it starts off from the future. It begins in 2027 when the bunch of islands, which look like an outhouse of India on the map, is ready to ring in the Swaraj Mahotsav, a year-end festival. But storm clouds are building around in the form of an impending medical emergency. The head honcho of the main hospital Dr Soudamini Singh (Mona Singh) does not want to take chances. She wants the event to be cancelled as the prognosis of the killer disease that seems to have afflicted the locals is not happy. But the lieutenant governor Admiral Zibran Qadri (Asuthosh Gowariker) does not want to sound the alarm bells as the place needs tourists. The others in the administration also feel that way. So Soudamini relents.
But this puts the locals and the many tourists in peril. A covid-like pandemic situation ensues, and all hell breaks loose in the desperation for survival. Woven into this story is the greed and plunder by an MNC of local ecology and the destruction of indigenous tribes who hold the key to the environmental balance of the place.
Even if the story and its treatment are a bit predictable, the series rises above that through its strong characters. The individual parts add up substantially. And the acting chops of many of them are also impressive. Mona Singh, for example, as the medical personnel who sets off the alarm bells during the pandemic, is solid. Her acting conveys the urgency of the situation, and she can give a sense of panic without actually getting panicky. Ashutosh Gowariker, as the lieutenant governor of the islands, is efficient. The real pick among the actors is Sukant Goel. As a cab driver with interesting morals, he is mighty good. Vikas Kumar, as part of the tourist family, shows what human beings are capable of when pushed into a calamitous crisis. Arushi Sharma as the nurse, Radhika Mehrotra as a medical intern, Chinmay Mandlekar as a stressed-out doctor, and Amey Wagh as a cop are all excellent.
Sameer Saxena and Amit Golani, who in the past have been part of different types of projects like Kota Factory, Gullak, Permanent Roommates and Jaadugar, are primarily effective in a new territory for them. Though the series lapses into a syrupy philosophical spiel from time to time, it manages to remain firm in the rest of the portions.
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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.