Crime stays on to be one of the most preferred themes for Indian OTT web series currently. While there have been stories about gangsters [Mirzapur 2, Mum Bhai], scam [Scam 1992] and greed [A Simple Murder, Bicchoo Ka Khel] in the recent times, one aspect that has been missing is politics. That is fulfilled now with Dark 7 White arriving on ALT Balaji and ZEE5.
It takes time though to get used to the title of this 10 episode series. While it is revealed in the promo that there are 7 suspects for the killing of Rajasthan’s youngest to-be-chief Minister [Sumeet Vyas], one wonders what does ‘Dark White’ stand for. Is it something literal or metaphorical or philosophical? Well, you get to know about that towards the end. However, what excites is the back and forth narrative that this Sattwik Mohanty directed web series boasts of which lasts nearly 3 hours. In fact had it been crisper, it could have settled as a feature film.
That said, you like the way the overall storytelling unfolds for Dark 7 White which is based on the book Dark White written by Shweta Brijpuriya. A product of Jaipur royalty enters student politics and then rises the ranks to become the Chief Minister elect. However just before swearing his, he is murdered in what could also qualify as a freak accident.
The suspects are primarily those who were associated with the ‘Prince’ from his college days. A steady girlfriend [Monica Chaudhary], a fling [Madhurima Roy], a partner-in-crime [Taniya Kalra], another youth leader who aspires to be the Chief Minister [Kunj Anand], and a businessman [Shekhar Choudhary] amongst a couple of other close confidantes. The man assigned to investigate the crime is a no-nonsense ACP [Jatin Sarna] who gets into Nawazuddin Siddiqui mode, a la Raath Baaki Hai, to round up the suspects and the witnesses.
What impresses most about Dark 7 White is multiple layers that it explores, as well as the fact that compared to many other web series that arrive on a weekly basis, this one looks grander and has a better visual appeal. Moreover, the dramatic narrative too is the kind that is befitting that of a feature film experience, something that is understandable since Sattwik has made a movie before [Ranchi Diaries]. With Ekta Kapoor backing the project, other production elements like background score, cinematography, sets and sound design are good too.
However, it’s the story that keeps you engaged right through. While the murder takes place within the first few minutes itself, it is exciting to see how Sumeet Vyas himself narrates the entire story as a ‘sutradhaar’ and keeps the audience engages as the needle of suspicion moves from one person to another. Moreover, he continues to have good screen time right through as the story keeps going back in the flashback. This is where you get to know that the ‘man in white’ was nothing like what he seemed and there was a cold blooded monster hidden in him.
Another actor who has solid screen time is Jatin Sarna who graduates from being a henchman [Sacred Games] to an ACP this time around, and channelizes the entire investigation. His body language as well as dialogue delivery is just the kind that you would have expected in a dramatic series like this and the way he brings in subtle humor as well reminds one of many such roles that Om Puri played back in the 90s.
The women are all good, what with Monica being suitably vulnerable, Taniya coming across as the younger version of Achint Kaur and Madhurima oozes oomph. Their presence also means that there are numerous love making scenes too, some of these being graphic enough to make you a bit uncomfortable. On the other hand Kunj Anand (who impressed as a villain in Your Honor) is right for the part and should be seen more. Shekhar Choudhary could have brought in more energy though. Nidhi Singh could have had more screen time and meaty scenes though.
That said, one wonders what was the real need of the line ‘Who the fu&k killed me?’ getting repeated at the end of every episode. It becomes quite repetitive, though thankfully the cuss words (which were in abundance in recently released Mum Bhai) are relatively in control here (if one goes by the OTT trends currently).
All in all, Dark 7 White is an intriguing political drama and also amongst the best OTT web series this season. Had this been designed as a feature film too, it would have found good audience for itself. Do watch it!