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The Chameleon
Oct 15, 2023 03:04 PM 452 Views
(Updated Oct 15, 2023 03:20 PM)



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I am a Gulshan Devaiah fan which propelled me to watch this web series though a bit late. It was released in August 2023. This is just Part I which, as is with web series, ends on a cliffhanger that makes you more eager to reach the finishing line sooner. The trailor of Part II has been released in October 2023 which promises more twists and turns in the story.

Sammit Patel(Gulshan Devaiah), a talented metal artist and house husband, is married to Ira Jaykar Patel(Drashtii Dhami), who is a sincere cop. They have a six years old girl child fondly nicknamed Caterpillar.

Ira is given the charge of a case which appears like a copy cat killing of a serial killer who committed suicide in 2005. The dreaded killer, Baala Bane(Zaqir Hussain) had rocked the small coastal town of Sarangwadi with his serial killings more than a decade back. However, the atrocious crime has not been fully obliviated from the memories of the cops and the common man. His signature style was ripping off the thumb nails of both hands of his victims and slashing their ankles. Six women were murdered but a seventh one also took place whose body was not found.

Baala Bane had a son and a daughter, Abhishek and Prachi. Abhishek absconded after allegedly killing the village Sarpanch while Prachi vanished into oblivion.

While investigating the copy killing, Ira and her team come to the conclusion that the serial killings could not have been committed by one person alone. Bala Bane must have had an accomplice who is roaming scot free even now. Seven thumbnails were found in Baala Bane's workshop who was also incidentally a metal artist. But the other seven were not to be found which presumably were still with the accomplice.

Vikas Sarode(Abhijeet Khandkekar), Abhishek Bane's school mate, is now a crime reporter and a vlogger with a huge fan base. Every Friday he comes up with one or the other crime expose. This time he is after the copy cat killer which eventually brings him face to face with his school mate, Abhishek Bane aka Sammit Patel, Ira's husband.

Vikas, being a sensationalist and a limelight hogger, wants to expose Sammit. But Sammit coerces him to give him back the videos of his father's workshop which were in Vikas' possession.

In the meantime, another murder takes place. This time its a co-worker of Abhishek Bane. They both used to work in a high way restaurant. All clues point towards Bane. It is believed that he is back to take revenge. His pattern of murder follows that of his father. The victim's last call was to Vikas Sarode whom he was giving information about Bane.

When Ira goes to question the restaurant owner she sees photos of the specialities of the joint hung on the wall. She is surprised to see the picture of dishes like crab roll hung there which is also prepared by her husband. By the way Sammit is also a very fine cook. By and by Ira's suspicion grows that her husband is the fugitive Abhishek Bane.

As a parallel narrative, we see Sammit's mother(Divya Seth) and father(Rajesh Khattar) are unable to accept Sammit's marriage and his daughter. They feel Ira and her daughter are intrusions in their close knit family. Why?

Sammit is a sociopath who has forgotten to smile. He is learning to be'normal' from You Tube coaches. Before marriage he had confessed to Ira that he had a past and could see people who were not alive. But Ira insisted on marrying him not wanting to know about his harrowing past. And now their eleven years old marriage is crumbling down like a pack of cards!

In the meanwhile, the incorrigible Vikas, puts up a video with an audio of Bala's alleged accomplice which points all fingers to Abhishek Bane. Sammit aka Abhishek requests Vikas to help him find this accomplice but Vikas refuses because he intends this vlog to be his trump card against Sammit.

In another parallel narrative, Prachi, Abhishek's elder sister is shown to be in love with Vikas in their teens but they break up as Vikas accuses her of being a murderer's daughter. Prachi and Sammit both live in the same city but do not know about each other's existence. However, subsequently they meet. Prachi also meets Vikas which again ignites the flame of love in Vikas' heart but now its too late. Prachi makes a confession to Vikas to save her brother which leaves him dumbfounded and terrified.

What is that secret?

Who is this accomplice who has been undercover for seventeen years?

Is Abhishek really the culprit?

Will Ira be able to protect her husband from being accused of crimes she is not sure he committed?

Will suspicion wreak havoc on Ira and Sammit's "happily married life"?

Duranga is a Goldie Behl production. The first two episodes have been directed by Pradeep Sarkar and the rest by Aijaz Khan.

Gulshan Devaiah shines as Sammit aka Abhishek. His switch-over and body language, as a young lad with a dark past which he consciously tries to hide but at the same time is also tormented by and a husband who is not sure whether he is capable of softer emotions like love and affection, is startling.

Drashtii Dhami also gives her best to the meaty role of a Police Inspector torn between her love for her husband, her promise to keep him safe and protected and her duty to nab the actual killer.

This edge of the seat, bingeworthy serial took me by surprise. Though at times a little implausible yet the flow of the narration takes the viewer along.

The USP of the serial is the empathy that it successfully creates in the hearts of the viewers for two siblings battling against a scarred lineage, abuses and accusations they have to face being children of a dreaded persona, their isolation and ostracization and struggle to be'normal' and rehabilitate into mainstream society and above all their fear of genetically carrying their father's lunacy and psychopathy.

Inspite of being a crime thriller, Duranga also has a very strong social message. Perhaps it is this element in the narrative that justifies the title. While on the topic, it is relevant to mention that Duranga perhaps unintentiionally pinpoints the many facets of personality traits which we as human beings carry knowingly or unknowingly. We have an external facade for society and an internal ulterior one which motivates our actions and behaviours. Sometimes, there is no conflict between the two. Sometimes, there is a thin line of demarcation. Sometimes, the line seperating the two gets blurred somewhere and the two facades intersect in a grey zone which is undecipherable.

At times, while watching this serial, I felt how lucky we are to have socially acceptable antecedents, to be part of the larger milieu, not to be differentiated or seggregated from the rest. I personally am very thankfull of my anonymity which enables me to get diffused in the crowd without leaving "any impermeable hue behind."

Do watch the serial. It will keep you glued I promise and make you think how privilleged you are being a commoner, one among the crores of insignificant junta carrying on with your day to day struggle in obscurity.

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