Review Hindi

Rudra: The Edge Of Darkness review – Ajay Devgn excels in his first web-series

Release Date: 04 Mar 2022 / Rated: U/A


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Keyur Seta

Directed by Rajesh Mapuskar, the sometimes-predictable Disney+ Hotstar show also boasts of a fine performance by Raashii Khanna.

When a well-known star makes a web-series debut, you expect them to knock it out of the park. Ajay Devgn does just that in Rajesh Mapuskar’s Disney+ Hotstar’s show Rudra: The Edge Of Darkness, an adaptation of the BBC psychological crime thriller series Luther. 

Ajay plays DCP [deputy commissioner of police] Rudraveer Singh, who is fondly called Rudra. Known for not carrying a gun as he excels at solving cases with his mind, Rudra is passionate about his job and that is mostly why his marriage with Shaila aka Shai (Esha Deol) is on the rocks. Making matters worse, she is in love with Rajiv (Satyadeep Mishra). 

Devgn had the challenge of displaying various emotions and moods and pulls this off well. The show has various moments where he speaks purely through expressions, without overdoing it even once. 

The actor has played different kinds of cops in Prakash Jha’s Gangaajal (2003) and Rohit Shetty’s Singham (2011). But in Rudra, he displays a new dimension. No doubt, he is also helped by the type of character and the fact that he wasn’t required to be in the uniform.

Rudra introduces a serious case right at the start and follows it up with one crime each in the remaining five episodes while the first case stays in the background. A similar structure was seen in the first season of Zee5’s crime show Abhay (2019), starring Kunal Kemmu. But one can’t accuse Rudra of copying the format from Abhay since it is an official remake of Luther, whose first season came out way back in 2010. 

The show starts with a young girl Aliyah Choksi’s (Raashii Khanna) parents being killed while she is away at the supermarket. When Rudra interrogates Aliyah, he comes to the conclusion that she is the culprit. However, he doesn’t have any proof or motive. He then gets busy solving other cases along with his senior Deepali (Ashwini Kalsekar), an old friend and colleague Gautam (Atul Kulkarni) and the rookie Prabal (Tarun Gahlot), who considers the veteran his idol. 

Rudra starts with a bang with the case involving Aliyah. One would expect the protagonist to make headway into the case after some hurdles. But he cracks it, at least mentally, almost instantly. The prolonged psychological cat-and-mouse game between Rudra and Aliyah keeps things interesting. 

But while the case takes a backseat and the viewer is presented with one crime after another, the proceedings start becoming repetitive by the time you reach the fifth episode. The episodes not only start becoming predictable but they are lengthy with almost each being around 50 minutes long. There are also instances where things become quite convenient for the good guys. 

But the final episode salvages the series by deviating from the established format and creating high tension and drama among the team of the cops themselves. 

However, as the show progresses, the case of Aliyah is somehow forgotten. Somehow, Rudra too becomes disinterested in finding whether his hunch is right. Aliyah’s character and motives too are confusing. In other words, the show has an inconsistent narrative.  

Despite the treatment of her character, Khanna displays oodles of confidence, even when she shares the screen with someone as senior as Devgn in her OTT debut. Atul Kulkarni’s part gets meatier later on and he impresses with his versatility. 

Deol is strictly average in her comeback vehicle. Kalsekar completely suits the character of a senior cop and so does Ashish Vidyarthi. Tarun Gahlot is decent but shows some scope for improvement. Mishra gives another natural performance. Hemant Kher gives an applause-worthy performance as a psycho killer; in complete contrast to his role as Harshad Mehta's sensible brother in Scam 1992 (2020)

Rudra is a show that has a few things going for it, including Devgn’s performance. 

Rudra: The Edge Of Darkness is being streamed on Disney+ Hotstar

 

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