Netflix’s latest sci-fi drama Leila is out and in the first two episodes, the series showcases a dark world where one must not expect happy endings. Leila spends a huge part of the first two episodes in introducing us to the dystopian world. If you have seen the trailer, you would know that the show is set in a world where one’s religious belief decides their chance of survival.
The country is named Aryavarta and it functions like a cult. The society is segregated on the basis of communities and is bound by strict rules. The authorities take away women who have gotten married outside their community and this is what triggers the plot.
Shalini (Huma Qureshi) lives with her husband Rizwan (Rahul Khanna) and daughter Leila. Their life changes after Shalini is taken by the cult henchmen for her “purification.” The society is strictly monitored and women in captivity are tortured. They are tempted to kill their co-prisoners so they can get out of the prison-like residence. In the midst of this, Huma’s Shalini is pining for her daughter Leila who was separated from her two years ago.
Leila is directed by Deepa Mehta and is based on the book of the same name by Prayag Akbar. The show sets up its world by painting a dark picture of the future. While it’s not that unbelievable, it certainly does not jolt you enough to make you squirm.
Huma Qureshi is the central character here and she tries to hold the show together. Arif Zakaria as Guru Ma is sharp and commanding. Sidharth plays the evil man who wants to hold Shalini prisoner since that is the fate she chose.
Leila is an ambitious project but even after the first two episodes, the show is yet to take off with its central conflict: Shalini’s search for her daughter.
In a nutshell, Leila does not demand your attention but can be watched if you find dark dystopian dramas attractive.