Duranga starring Gulshan Devaiah and Drashti Dhami in lead roles is the official remake of Korean show, Flower of Evil. And while that is the description for the show, it rises above and beyond with soaring heights on multiple instances to deliver some binge-worthy viewing.
Having had the opportunity to watch the entire first season, here's what I thought about it-
Stellar Cast & Better Performances
The first and foremost thing to rave about when it comes to the show is the fantastic and brave casting choices made and justifying them with full conviction are the actors playing those characters. But before we get into talking about the leads, it is the supporting cast that need special mentions. Each and every actor playing their fascinating characters is on point with their performance. Abhijeet Khandkekar and Srinivasa Prasad Kiran are the standouts playing the roles of Vikas and Nikhil respectively. In the rest of the cast, it was refreshing to see Divya Seth Shah in a meaty role and even with less screen time, Barkha Sengupta and Sparsh Walia were impressive.
Keeps You on the Edge
The sole thing for a thriller/murder mystery to do is keep you on the edge-of-your-seat almost constantly. That is what Duranga succeeds at with every episode. There are almost too many twists and shockers along with some jaw-dropping cliffhangers to keep you constantly hooked and watch the next episode immediately. As a show running for nine episodes with a tolerable runtime of never more than 35 minutes, Duranga is binge-worthy viewing at its best.
Walking the Thin Line - Sometimes Crossing It
One of the biggest errors that a mind-bending mystery goes on to commit is incorporate way too many twists and turns that it gets uninteresting and also outlandish on multiple occasions. Duranga, throughout its runtime walks that thin line too dangerously. It does have a truckload of twists and turns coming in but almost everytime, it manages to explain it well and keep you engaged. There are a few instances where it crosses that thin line and asks your suspension of disbelief to be at its epitome but those aren't too harmful as it comes back to some good fun everytime.
Having an Emotional Crux
Yet another instance in which Duranga delivers is being able to have a core emotional angle that isn't forced and at the same time, well-etched. Amidst the madness going on around the murders, the decision to have a unique love story in the middle of it is a smart choice. Before the intro begins, the cold open of the first 5-6 episodes is the story in flashback of how the leads, Sammit Patel (Deviah) and Ira Jaykar Patel (Dhami) met and fell in love. This works in great unison with the present day story and when things go berserk, you feel for them in the situations they are in.
Fabulous Leading Actors
Devaiah continues to be tagged as an 'underrated actor' and somehow he keeps on proving time and again how he deserves to rise above it. The man is brilliant as Sammit Patel (and one more name) where he jumps between emotions so well. He delivers what can touted to be one of his best performances.
And as we talk about best performances, Dhami should be proud of Duranga more than anything. The female actor proves she has the talent, acting chops and some fine subtleties to portray the fascinating character of Ira. With the role, Dhami gets to do everything - from emoting to having action sequences, chase sequences and so much more. It seems she had a blast doing all this and it shows in what is undoubtedly her best performance so far.
There are plenty of things I haven't highlitghted on else they would be spoilers but in the end, Duranga on Zee5 is a satisfactory watch catapulted by stellar acting performances.
Rating - ***1/2 (3.5/5)