Nisha web series review: A disservice to the web series space
Nisha, a new psychological thriller series, starring Vaibhavi Shandilya, is out on ZEE5. Nisha is about three girls kidnapped by a psychopath, who tortures them for their past crime.
Nisha is the kind of series you get when a puerile and shoddy short-film script gets a decent budget. The entire plot is contrived and absurd that the show demands the viewer’s willing suspension of common sense.
It is one of those psychological thrillers that end up telling you ‘it’s all a dream’. The show is all about a stereotypical psychopath (Anish Padmanabhan), who kidnaps three friends including the titular character Nisha (played by Vaibhavi Shandilya). You sense that the captor is on a mission to take revenge but even after four episodes the story doesn’t move anywhere.
Director: Karthik Rajan (Karry)
Cast: Vaibhavi Shandilya, Anish Padmanabhan
What’s more excruciating about Nisha is its characters. Nisha’s dad Murali doesn’t want to go to the police because it will affect the reputation of his family and daughter. He convinces his friend Saravanan, a former private investigator, to find Nisha.
The director Karthik Rajan (Karry) tries hard to depict Saravanan as a deviant. So, we get a scene of this investigator masturbating to the picture of Murali’s girlfriend Kiki (Ujjayinee Roy), who convincingly doubles up as Nisha’s psychiatrist. As if watching him do it in the toilet with his sunglasses on is not cringe enough, we also get a song in the background which goes ‘Manthiram Manthiram’, describing the act of masturbation.
The show is emotionless and doesn’t invoke an iota empathy towards the three hostages even as they go through graphic physical tortures. The scene where Nisha is forced to strip by her captor comes across as voyeuristic filmmaking rather than making us feel for her. Even Nisha’s dad doesn’t seem all that worried. Here’s what he has to say to Kiki about his missing mentally-ill daughter, “Enaku ava nybagamavae iruku.” Of course, you do. She is missing for God's sake!
Vaibhavi Shandilya’s lip-sync and art director K Manikan’s production design are the only two things that shine out in this bland yawn fest. Yuvaraj Chandan’s background score and the songs are as pretentious as the characters and the writing of Nisha. The background scores act as cues to describe each character. Like Saravanan’s ‘Manthiram Manthiram’, the gaudy and bold Kiki gets a modernised version of ‘kolava satham’.
On paper, the new platform was supposed to attract our best talents as the medium is not shackled by the chains that pin down mainstream cinema. For instance, the lack of stringent censorship hasn’t been put to good use here but has only taken as a license to generously use cuss words. The need of the hour is conscious measures to save the nascent Tamil web series space from the onslaught of puerile and pointless works like Nisha.