India has had a slew of web series of late. However, it is still hard to find a show that can give that much-needed feeling of intrigue when the first episode begins and satisfaction as the last one ends. It is rare for a series to keep you hooked throughout, but the newest Hungama original, Hankaar, appears to have changed the game. It narrates a story that draws your attention to the changing modus-operandi of organized crime, despite being a fictional show. Set in Mumbai, the series follows the lives of 5 individuals who are seemingly unrelated to each other and yet have their destinies interlinked. The manner in which the individual stories are interwoven is commendable. All of these characters become puppets in a game that is much bigger than their individual lives. Hankaar is a sprawling narrative that features multiple characters, each of them unknowingly playing a crucial part in a story, the narrator of which is someone else!
The 5 characters: Nisha – daughter of a prostitute who rescues victims of human trafficking, Pradeep – a real estate agent about to become a builder, James – a drug addict who wants to become a peddler, Mangesh – a speech-impaired man from a chawl, and Joy – a tech geek-cum-cybercriminal, represent one side of the spectrum as common people, trying to find a way out of their miseries. And each time, finding themselves deeper in the turmoil. On the other end of the spectrum is ‘Z’, the dreaded underworld don, whose story reflects the current state of crime in Mumbai. ‘Z’ shows the audience that the way criminals operate in Mumbai has gradually changed over the years.
There was a time when crime was out in the open. Gang-wars, murders, and kidnappings were commonplace. The fact that some criminals were openly deified was the worst part! Merely two decades ago, gangsters used to walk on Mumbai’s streets as if they owned the city. Starting from the era of Haji Mastan, who in the 60’s, was feared and revered as India’s first ‘underworld don’ to Dawood Ibrahim, who once terrorized the entire country, and subsequently criminals like Abu Salem, Chhota Rajan, and Arun Gawli; criminals used to be a big influence on the Indian film industry, real estate industry, and politics.
However, all this ended as laws became stricter and authorities became more vigilant. Mumbai police was given a free hand in eliminating the hardcore criminals, which resulted in hundreds of encounters and arrests. Some high-level criminals were successful in fleeing India and started operating from foreign countries. A few, however, chose to stay in Mumbai and continue their ‘legacy’. ‘Z’ is the quintessence of all such criminals. He exhibits how crime is operated from the shadows and shows the viewers that the underworld now has found innovative ways to continue operating.
The city of Mumbai plays an extremely important role as well, as pivotal as any of the other characters, and the show presents it in a truly unprecedented manner! Each episode gives an intriguing account of the seedy underbelly of the city. The show paints a very different picture of contemporary Mumbai.
Time and again, books, movies, and other media have defined Mumbai in their own way. Some of them have depicted it as the city of dreams, where everything becomes right at the end. Others have illustrated the joyful spirit of the city, and some have presented the history, the grandeur, and the growth of the city. Hankaar is different from the lot as it takes a panoramic look at the corrupt side of the city. Shot without sets on actual locations, the show presents Mumbai in a manner that couldn’t be more distant from the glitz and glamour so commonly associated with the city.
Hankaar stars Ujjwal Chopra as Z, Yogini Chouk Borhade as Nisha, Rajesh Balwani as Pradeep, Sharda Nand Singh as James, Prammod Sanghi as Mangesh, Ram Menon as Joy and Shahnawaz Pradhan as Mamujaan. It has been produced by Hungama, Pocket Films, Talkaholics Productions and Cancom, and directed by Sanjay Bhatia, Ravi Iyer and Yogi Chopra, while Tarun Rajput serves as the creative director.
Hankaar is available to stream on Hungama Play. Click here to watch all the episodes.
Watch the trailer of the show below: