Dhahanam Review: Underwhelming Story of Revenge

Dhahanam series is Ram Gopal Varma’s first venture into OTT space, which was released on MX Player on April 14, 2022. The series is directed by Agastya Manju, produced by Ram Gopal Varma and stars Isha Koppikar, Abhishek Duhan, Naina Ganguly, Ashwatkanth Sharma, Parvathy Arun, Sayaji Shinde, Abhilash Chaudhary and Pradeep Rawat as the main cast. There are 7 episodes in the series with a runtime of about 30 minutes each.

-Dhahanam Review Does Not Contain Any Spoilers-

Plot: Jealousy, Revenge & Murder

Dhahanam is an action-packed thriller set against the backdrop of oppression, revenge and lots of bloodshed. It follows the story of Hari, a rebel Naxalite, who has declared war against corrupt landlords & anyone who does unjust toward people of lower status. However, when his father Sri Ramalu is murdered by an acquaintance for a purpose no other than pure jealousy, Hari rises up to avenge the death of his father.

The motive for revenge only gets stronger when the main culprits turned out to village’s higher-ups & most powerful goons. The conflict then turns between Hari and the notorious goon Obul Reddy, also the son of the main conspirator. Who will win the fight between the two sons, one side is Hari, a violent voice of the weak and the other is Obul, the ruthless oppressor.

Caricature Characters, Lacking Plot & Unclear Motive

The series Dhahanam starts with Isha Koppikar aka Anjana Sinha, a newly appointed police inspector, investigating the murder of the previous inspector & the area’s MLA. Then she starts narrating how all of this started with the murder of Sri Ramalu. Considering the narrative style of the introduction, you would think Anjana Sinha will be the one that will unravel the past & lead to a revealing end.

But she is shown for a total of 2 minutes with some more narration in the initial episodes then she disappears into non-existence. The motive of her character is only to introduce the setting & leave like a host of a show. Talking about motive, even the main character Hari doesn’t seem to have any motive behind becoming the head of Naxalites.

Dhahanam Naxals

His father is a social worker who works for the welfare of the poor, Hari does the same, in a violent way, but there’s no background story behind how or why he took such an extreme step. Most of the Naxals have a tragic reason for becoming one but Hari’s family is all good, he was living a fine life. Then why?

The antagonist Obul Reddy is your typical bad guy who lusts for every female in sight & would kill anyone for that. Initially, the story was about Naxal vs landlords but then it just became a story of revenge where they can kill anyone on the opposite side, even for breathing.

So far there seems only one female who isn’t exploited which is Pavani, part of the Naxals group. But for most of the episodes, she is there just to make food & hold the gun like a prop. Even in the end when she is shown as a strong individual the baton is again passed to the next main lead.

Dhahanam Hari

Final thoughts: Is it just a setting for Second Season?

MX Player’s Dhahanam seems to be quite underwhelming coming from Ram Gopal Varma, who is known for bone-chilling action thrillers. The plot is very single-minded with only bloodshed in sight. I mean even if the character is carrying a gun they will pick up a rock to kill you for visual horror. However, the actors have played their characters quite well. Abhishek Duhan as Hari is believable and intense in his acting as a Naxalite head.

The sound score creates a tense feeling and uplifts the drowning emotions in the plot. However, sound effects of stomping & dubbing of some dialogues are not in sync, feel abrupt & unnecessary. The end of the series doesn’t feel satisfactory or rather incomplete. It could be done to make viewers anticipate a second season but it might not work for most.

Dhahanam is streaming on MX Player.

Also Read: Metal Lords Review: 2 Misfits Make a Band

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Overall

SUMMARY

MX Player's Dhahanam is a story of Hari, a Naxal, who wants to avenge his father's murder. The revenge lands him face to face with the influential & powerful goons.

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MX Player's Dhahanam is a story of Hari, a Naxal, who wants to avenge his father's murder. The revenge lands him face to face with the influential & powerful goons. Dhahanam Review: Underwhelming Story of Revenge