Hasmukh Review: Air of Suspense and Edginess Makes Vir Das Starrer Very Watchable

Hasmukh Review: Air of Suspense and Edginess Makes Vir Das Starrer Very Watchable

Hasmukh may not tickle your funny bone, but those with a yen for dark dramas would certainly find this underdog story-meets-dark thriller, an appealing watch.

  • News18.com
  • Last Updated: April 18, 2020, 11:16 AM IST

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Hasmukh

Cast: Vir Das, Ranvir Shorey, Suhail Nayyar

Director: Nikhil Gonsalves

Stand-up comic Vir Das headlines this drama about a small-town comic Hasmukh, “an aspiring comedian with good material but terrible delivery” as described in the promotional literature.

Hasmukh has been an understudy to a famous comedian Gulati (Manoj Pahwa) who refuses to give him his big promised break. Hasmukh is driven to desperate measures to kickstart his stagnant career, and in an unexpected turn of events, his comedic stint starts with a murder. What’s worse, Hasmukh discovers that he finds his comic mojo only when he goes for the kill! That, right there is a delightful and diabolical premise here that got my immediate attention.

Once Hasmukh has tasted blood and the resultant success, there is no looking back. What starts off accidentally soon turns into a necessity for Hasmukh. He finds a willing abettor in Jimmy, (Ranvir Shorey) the manager of Hasmukh’s former mentor Gulati. Jimmy willingly joins hands with the new comic on the block and off they go trying to find new gigs and new people to murder—primarily to fuel Hasmukh’s inspiration. Serendipitously Hasmukh becomes an Internet sensation and is noticed by the programming team of a television channel desperately looking for ways to boost their ratings. The next thing he knows is that he is on his way to Mumbai as a wild card entry on a comedy show! Lady Luck finally seems to be smiling beatifically on Hasmukh as he quickly steps into the big league in the big city. But will his past catch up with him? It’s the uncertainty of Hasmukh’s fate that hangs over his head like the proverbial Damocles’ Sword lending the show an air of suspense and edginess, which makes it very watchable.

In fact, this 10 episode series on Netflix drums up the excitement in each episode with intrigues replete with enough twists and turns. With workplace politics in the television channel, the on-stage rivalry between Hasmukh and Krishna Kumar (a seasoned Comedy Show winner), and each episode ending on a mysterious note, there is enough to keep the audience coming back for the next. To that extent the team of writers that includes Vir Das, Neeraj Pandey, Suparn Verma, Amogh Ranadive, Nikhil Advani and director Nikhil Gonsalves keep a firm grip on the material giving us a Desi Dexter like character. Where the writing somewhat falters is in the detailing—instead of small-town nuances, the show settles for broad strokes especially in the early episodes when the story is set in a provincial town in Uttar Pradesh.

Just like movies about musicians are expected to have great music, shows about stand-up comics need to have great comic material for the comedian. Especially after watching shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which fare exceedingly well on both the stand-up comedy and the dramatic front, the lack of great comic material in Hasmukh is a bit of a let-down. The good news is that the smart plotting in each episode with convincing backstories and motivations for the dramatis personae more than make up for the patchy comic material. In fact, the competition between KK (Suhail Nayyar) and Hasmukh heating up towards the end of the series provides some edge-of-the-seat moments.

Vir Das, in the lead role, is both effective and convincing in this subdued intense role while Shorey as Jimmy, dazzles. Das and Shorey’s immaculate teamwork holds the show together. Ravi Kishan as the channel honcho with a roving eye is delightful too even in just a brief turn.

Director Nikhil Gonsalves handles the material at hand adeptly, focusing on the thriller and dramatic element above all else. In the bargain, he pulls off the arduous task of delivering a binge-worthy series.

Hasmukh may not tickle your funny bone, but those with a yen for dark dramas would certainly find this underdog story-meets-dark thriller, an appealing watch.

Rating: 3/5

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