Web Show: Betaal
Cast: Viineet Kumar Singh, Aahana Kumra, Suchitra Pillai, Jatin Goswami, Jitendra Joshi,
Manjari Pupala, Siddharth Menon
Director: Patrick Graham, Nikhil Mahajan
Review By: Manisha Karki
The Netflix series, Betaal is a four-part horror show and is definitely here to make your lockdown days better.
The series starts by showcasing a group of villagers praying to appease the devil. The story takes place in a remote village called Nilja. A platoon of commandos are brought in to make way for the opening of a tunnel dating back to the British Raj.
The village’s tribal community believes that the tunnel to be haunted by the spirit of Colonel Lynedoch of the 90th Taunton Volunteers.
In comes the CIPD, a patriotic task force named as ‘Baaz’ recruited to root out ‘naxals’, which is what any group of tribals opposing development is automatically branded.
Led by the calculating Tyagi (Suchitra Pillai) and a hero Vikram Sirohi (Vineet Kumar), the battalion troops into battle with all the technology it has. Except, it is dealing with something it can scarcely believe exist.
It has a twist towards the end and a possibility that there could be a second season in the works.
The series is made by Patrick Graham, who also made Ghoul and Nikhil Mahajan.
The background score of the series is dark and intense. Even its music will remind of the horror films you watched as a child.
The storyline is strong with amazing performances but a weak execution in terms of showcasing horror in some scenes.
If we talk about the makeup of the series, the cast has amazing make up but the make up created on the zombies need a little improvisation.
In some scene it was clear that they are dummy pieces made of wax and clay while in others, they look like humans with over exposed makeup.
Some scene of the series are amazing like – the time when Ahluwalia gets attacked, the time when Colonel Lynedochi gives orders from the back – be it with officer Tyagi or Officer Sirohi.
Also, the scene when haq is transformed into a zombie the time he attack the commando.
The story has a few striking similarities with Tumbbad, such as the dark and gory undertones, the concept of greed and others.
However, the story fails to maintain the tension. Also, you will miss the fear and haunted chills in the series. But it is surely engaging to make you watch it over and over again.
Talking about performances, Vineet Kumar as Officer Sirohi is good, disciplined, play-by-the-books soldier who gets his kicks from following orders blindly.
While Kumar is earnest and convincing, especially when he is battling personal demons from the past, his character is gripping enough.
Suchitra Pillai as commanding officer Tyagi is the star of this mediocre scarefest. Her devilish stares are powerful enough to send a few shivers down your spine.
Aahana Kumra as Ahluwalia shows spunk and is more memorable as a character. Some of her scenes are set with emotions which she played amazingly well.
Jitendra Joshi as the power-hungry, morally-bankrupt contractor evokes distaste, but a flaky storyline prevents us from appreciating him. After Sacred Games this is one of his best promising performance.
Manjari Pupala looks quite unbelievable as a tribal woman. She looks full of energy and wit, and packs a few solid punches.
Siddharth Menon was the eye catcher in the whole series. His role as Haq is remarkable and in some scenes you might feel he is surprising.
Jatin Goswami is the best brother that Haq could ever have. His scenes with Manjari is the hi-lights of the series.
Syna Anand as Saanvi was the most important part of the series as she has the eyes on all. She shines bright with her innocence in her role.
Also, Richard Dillane, who played Colonel Lynedoch is the best choice for the role. He made the climax scene more amazing.
Apart from these the other characters like Krishna Bisht has some fantastic dialogues delivery and Ankur Vikal did a fabulous job as Bhunnu chacha in the series.
You can enjoy your lockdown days watching Betaal. We, with all our heart, give the series 3 stars.