For a woman who built her career and made her name producing traditional saas-bahu dramas, Ekta Kapoor has not just pushed but torn the envelope with her digital content. Sex and foul language are fairly common in Alt Balaji content, even if that is never enough to drive a show or film.
Alt Balaji has now released the trailer of its new web-series Apharan. Though laced with sex and profanity, the desi Western holds promise for it appears to have an intriguing story at its heart. Remarkably, it is Balika Vadhu (a former soap opera on Colors TV channel) director Siddharth Sengupta who helms this one.
Set in Uttarakhand, Apharan tells the tale of a troubled police officer (Arunoday Singh) who is hired by Mahie Gill’s character to abduct a bride Annu Tyagi. Now, Annu looks happy to join Arunoday Singh in the getaway, but the simple plan goes wrong and the police find her dead. And Arunoday Singh is chosen to investigate the very abduction he carried out.
Apart from the mysterious murder of Annu Tyagi, the police officer is also battling personal demons after catching his wife cheating on him with another man (Saanand Verma). In Blackmail (2018), we saw Arunoday Singh cheating on his partner; the man now is on the other side.
Sengupta does have an interesting story at his disposal, but what makes the trailer enjoyable is the humour in it. The humour quotient is provided by the supporting cast, led by actors like Varun Badola and Saanand Verma.
Badola is an underrated actor who hasn’t done justice to his talent. Apharan, however, seems to be a project that could give his career a much-needed boost. He runs an amateurish private security agency with a bunch of good-for-nothing guys. “Hum zindagi mei chunatiyon se nahi chutiyon se pareshan hain [My struggle is not with challenges but with idiots],” he tells a subordinate. The Delhi-born Badola has got a firm grip on the Uttarakhand accent.
Saanand Verma is popularly known as Paglait, his weird character from the popular television show Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain. Verma was also a delight in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Pataakha (2018) and he plays another goofy character here.
There are other artistes in the supporting cast, the subordinates of Arunoday Singh and Varun Badola, whose names we do not know yet but who add to Apharan’s humour. There is no Angoori Bhabhi of Bhabhiji Ghar Par Hain, but the desi housewife speaking on the phone has a similar tone when she utters a cuss word.
Mahie Gill is notorious for playing scheming characters, most popularly as the royal Madhavi Devi in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster franchise. And so she is an apt choice for Apharan too. Now we can’t say with certainty, but there is a possibility that Gill’s character hatched a plan to abduct her own kin. Gill reels in these femme fatale characters. The only thing that could go against her is monotony.
Sometimes life can be like a 70s film, says the wonderful tagline to the plot. Sengupta cleverly adds a dash of 1970s music to the trailer, with retro songs fitting appropriately to the situations Arunoday Singh’s character finds himself in.
The Indian digital space is already flooded with dark thrillers and Apharan might be a bit late, but it does have a fine story at its heart The web-series will be released online on 14 December. Meanwhile, watch the entertaining trailer below: