Hotstar describes the series as:
A disgraced IAS officer sets out to vindicate herself and takes up a strange case in Shilaspura, a land with occult practices.
– Dahan: Raakan Ka Rahasya Review Does Not Contain Spoilers –
Dahan‘s first episode itself will test your patience. Regardless of whether or not the next 8 episodes are action/mystery-packed, the first episode is absolutely exposition rich and drags the runtime so badly that you’ll lose interest halfway through the watch. However, Tisca Chopra will definitely push you to watch the show past these dragging episodes, especially when she gets to Shilaspura.
Shikaspura in itself isn’t that interesting, but the creators have made it feel so mysterious and creepy that you can’t look away from it. Add to that the very creepy background score, and you have a solid atmosphere that you cannot look away from. The village is a very interesting character in this show, and man, does it not disappoint, especially with all of its different aspects coming together.
Tisca Chopra’s Avani Raut holds secrets of her own. From the first minute, we are shown glimpses that something has happened to her and that something continues to haunt her to this day. Is there something supernatural there, or is Avani mentally not well? That’s a question you ask yourself constantly as Avani goes over one hurdle after another.
Avani and Pramukh Swaroop’s (Saurabh Shukla) rivalry is delicious to watch, and the fight between old and new is great. Avani is tasked to bring about development in the tiny village, which Swaroop is actively trying to stop. Who will win this fight is anyone’s guess and something that you will be able to know only by the end of the show. But before that, you watch everyone being rather shady and doing things that will make you raise an eyebrow.
That being said, Dahan doesn’t do itself any favors with the way it presents its characters. Not one of them is good or has the maturity to understand the nuances of the situation. They all constantly bicker and scream about what they want and ‘development’ without actually looking at what people want or what the consequences can be of these rash decisions.
At one point, you also feel like Avani is extremely tone-deaf and controlling – she doesn’t listen to others and doesn’t believe in respecting others’ opinions and needs. We see it at first in smaller things, and then it starts to spread to the bigger things in her life. It’s interesting how she does not care about the consequences at first, but then, like everyone else, she, too, feels it biting on her back dela hard later on.
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moreover, Dahan‘s set pieces are just so bad. The horror elements look out of place, including the backdrops (which might remind one of dark and Indiana Jones) and the people afflicted by the supernatural. Everyone talks constantly about the ‘shraap’ coming to haunt them and whatnot in the most winding way possible, and it’s so tiring watching them say the same thing over and over again.
The tropes are also apparent – there’s nothing new or unique about the show, right down to the tropophobia-inducing hell from incantation. Honestly, apart from the creepy atmosphere and the (expected) increasingly shocking things happening, the series doesn’t have many horror elements to scare you, even though it is a horror/mystery show.
If anything, I was left a bit confused (and not in a good way) and dissatisfied with the horror, and some scenes are just so ludicrous that it’s funny. The afflicted people behave like the zombies from World War Z (or any zombie film, honestly), and you’ll be confused about what is even going on after a while. The series, if not for anything, is absolutely horrifying to watch because of those disgusting clusters on people’s faces; it’s a damn menace.
Everyone except for the primary characters’ acting is absolutely atrocious. As I mentioned previously, Tisca Chopra is the only saving grace of the show. Along with her dela, Saurabh Shukla is great too, as well as Rajesh Tailang, Mukesh Tiwari and Pankaj Sharma. The other actors are either horrendous, or their characters are too annoying for you to like them.
Summing Up: Dahan: Raakan Ka Rahasya
Dahan is an entirely forgettable show that is neither scary nor absolutely engaging from start to end. There are some creepy moments, and the story has a lot more to it than we are shown. However, it doesn’t leave any sort of mark whatsoever.
Dahan: Raakan Ka Rahasya is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.
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