Updated: August 23, 2018 4:04:17 pm
Ghoul is Netflix’s latest original Indian series. While Sacred Games was exclusively a Phantom Films production, Ghoul is made in association with Blumhouse Productions, the American studio behind acclaimed horror flicks like Get Out, Insidious, Sinister and so on. Starring Radhika Apte, Ghoul is set mainly in a military interrogation centre where a dreaded terrorist is taken as a prisoner. The prisoner, supposedly the head of a terrorist organisation, may be more than what he seems.
Here are five reasons why you should watch Ghoul:
First genuine Indian horror production: Let’s face it. Bollywood and Indian television does not do horror well. In most cases, the effects are so cheap that it is hard to suspend disbelief. In other cases, the cast is second-rate. Ghoul may be the first real, firing-on-all-cylinders India-made horror fare. Blumhouse Productions’ involvement has really done wonders and the ghoul, the titular villain, appears like a realistic, frightening monster with all his dark, sinister glory.
Plot: Ghoul cleverly uses the legend of ghoul (a kind of jinn) straight from the sand dunes of pre-Islamic Arabia and blends it masterfully with the themes it explores. The monster, with no tangible form of its own, eats people and assumes their forms to fool others (and later eats them too). Like many American and British horror TV shows and movies, there is use of the Aramaic language. The language is used to call upon the Ghoul, who later wreaks havoc in the darkened corridors of the interrogation centre. Since Ghoul was supposed to be a film before Netflix bought it, it is very, very binge-worthy. The pace is breakneck throughout and the final episode is packed with scares, shocks, twists and other edge-of-your-seat moments.
Political and social themes: Ghoul is not just a horror miniseries. The series is set in a near future India, painting a society and government which are uncomfortably familiar.
Dystopian India: We cannot recall if there has ever been a more ably done representation – or any representation, indeed – of a dystopian India than in Ghoul. Since the focus is on events occurring in an interrogation centre, the world-building had to be more subtle, and it is. Books are burned. “Us” vs “Them” is emphasised. A particular community is seen as the sole producer of terrorists. There seems to be military rule. Civil government is nowhere to be seen. Torture is a state policy.
Cast: Radhika Apte is without a doubt one of Bollywood’s best performers, mostly choosing roles which other female actors would shy away from. It goes without saying that she is brilliant in Ghoul too. Her performance is the highlight of the web series. Manav Kaul is also reliably good. Ratnabali Bhattacharjee shines too.
Ghoul begins streaming on Netflix from August 24.
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