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Gaanth Chapter 1 review: A slow-burn investigative thriller that's too tedious and tangled up

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Sakshi Sharma
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Gaanth Chapter 1 review

Gaanth Chapter 1 review

The first chapter of Gaanth proceeds leisurely and in incoherent directions which tires you out with its eight episodes and messy web of themes! 

It's an early morning in Delhi, 11 people are found dead inside their house and the police, doctors, media, and neighbors are in a frenzy. Yes, it's the Burari case. With a few minute changes, Gaanth Chapter 1 is a fictional adaptation of this very real criminal case that shook the country. But despite having facts and a ground-breaking criminal case, the show is too busy being tied up in its own knots to open up any.

It's a well-known case with two adaptations already—a documentary, House of Secrets, and a crime drama, Aakhri Sach. So, it's a well-intended idea to take a different approach to spilling the beans about what this ghastly crime reveals about society. Since the world already understands this real crime as a family committing mass suicide hence, the show takes a different route of looking at it as if it's a mass murder mystery. We have a drunk police officer, Gadar Singh (Manav Vij), investigating the crime, who is troubled by his own past and anger issues. There is also Sakshi Murmu (Monica Panwar), an intern in the psychiatric department with savant syndrome who helps with the investigation. The eight-episode series largely oscillates between these two, telling us about corruption in the police system, witch-hunting media trials, hypocrisies of the society, Islamophobia, prevalent indifference of the caste system in India, and the urgent need to understand psychiatry. 

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It's all there! The theory of the pipes, the mysterious diaries, versions of the neighbors, the religious cult angle, PTSD, rakshak sena, and more with a few modifications like the survival of a child, the death of seven members of the family, including the dog, Muslim servants, a mysterious hooded figure. It makes you think that when everything about this case is served on a platter, what could go wrong, right? But half-baked themes crisscrossing each other without any cohesiveness is what doesn't work for it. Gaanth wants to be a bird's eye view of the case where it covers it from all its aspects with numerous sub-plots but it also wants to be a dramatic slow-burn crime investigative thriller. And there is nothing wrong with that if it could only bridge the gap between them and balance the narrative arcs. Unfortunately, that's not the case!

Infuriatingly scattered in many directions, this show is gravely overwritten by Soham Bhattacharya, Anagh Mukherjee, and Fahim Irshad and has one too many commentaries to make which leaves you all the more confused and tired by the end of it. Despite many traumatic backstories attached to the characters, there is no emotional connection that you can find with anyone. The stoic presence of the ensemble cast doesn't help either, except for Monica Panwar, who adds more to her character than what was given to her. Though the authentic and creepy world-building of the show is commendable, it is not enough! There is neither the tension or mystery of a crime thriller nor enough depth for a real retelling. This reveals the indecisiveness of the show which is tediously unfocused so much so that the shocking end just leaves you dumbfounded and not the intriguing kind!

I was constantly reminded of the thought-provoking documentary House of Secrets by Leena Yadav as if Gaanth Chapter 1 secretly wants to be a fictional retelling of the themes touched upon in this chilling documentary but fails at convincingly portraying its commentary or doing justice at understanding the Burari case better! 

Gaanth Chapter 1 Jamnaa Paar is currently streaming on JioCinemas! 

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