Kaala Paani

Kaala Paani
Kaala Paani
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The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are set in the near future (2027) in which a mysterious disease had engulfed them, leading the inhabitants to undertake an unprecedented event in human history –escaping from Kaala Paani.

‘Kaala Paani’ is set in the picturesque Andaman and Nicobar Islands, evoking the historical significance of the infamous cellular jail in Port Blair, known as ‘Kaala Paani,’ from the pre-Independence era. The narrative revolves around the outbreak of a mysterious and deadly health epidemic on the islands, creating an atmosphere of chaos and fear.

The main plotline surrounds a strange disease that has been causing people to experience ink rashes on their necks. While also experiencing a severe cough followed by sudden deaths. Even with sick people all over and symptoms visible, Dr. Soudamini Singh (Mona Singh) appears to be only interested individual. Meanwhile, tourist festival has been held on these islands but behind this façade it is all about corporate greediness by Atom Rhymes with “Atom,” one of those big evil companies making things worse. As panic ensues amidst paranoia that mirrors a post-Covid world; islanders live through shockwaves of terror which come with such inexplicable outbreaks. They try to keep their courage during this time knowing very well that they could die anytime soon. Because of their actions or even just being at home taking care of themselves like most times before when there were no epidemic threats.

Dr Soudamini Singh is seeking more information about her son’s illness after he died mysteriously due COVID-19 on his blood stream as shown earlier on Thursday 02nd July 2020 at NHK World-Japan website under news pages containing an article titled “Coronavirus pandemic is linked directly to its arrival within host country Ghana.” She believes he was infected purposely so that it looks like natural cause but there is no evidence found. His symptoms were just like those of coronavirus infection: fever, coughing up blood and shortness in breath… The government reacts by calling for a total lockdown; however, this proves to be too little too late because people are already spreading the virus across the country.

Besides Mona Singh, Ashutosh Gowariker portrays LG (Lieutenant Governor) Admiral Zibran Qadri with a muted smile that clearly shows awareness and an instinctive anticipation of what is about to happen right now.

Biswapati Sarkar wrote ‘Kaala Paani’ and Sameer Saxena & Amit Golani directed it such that it’s an engaging although somewhat disjointed survival thriller which does justice to the place and its inhabitants within an unprecedented public health disaster. This show is ambitious enough to cover various issues such as identity politics, environmental colonialism, corruption in bureaucracy and how indigenous peoples relate harmoniously with nature. However, the series suffers from an overreach of ideas as it tries to address all these topics in seven hours of screen time thus disrupting the flow at times when you start feeling uncomfortable.

One strength amongst many others showcased in Kaala Paani is how powerfully its cast performed their roles throughout the whole season. Mona Singh does amazing job playing as a solitary vigilante. Sukant Goel outshone everyone else through his moving portrayal of cab driver nursing a broken heart. While Amey Wagh fits well into the shoes of angry policeman whose menace cannot be under estimated either. Other members also perform well in their respective roles hence making their characters look real on screen including Vikas Kumar who portrayed multiple emotions exceedingly well. Arushi Sharma’s character Jyotsna was truly adorable in her interpretation thereby leaving a lasting impression on viewers who watched this show till its climax. In addition Dr Ritu portrayed by Radhika Mehrotra and Dr Shashi Mahajan acted by Chinmay Mandlekar seem to have contributed greatly towards the storyline. Camera work (by Ewan Mulligan, Barnaby Crocker and Dhananjay Navagrah) in the show makes you feel like you are part of what is happening.

However, the absence of a clear lead character makes this look more like a documentary where interesting characters undergo a common transformative journey. This may not meet expectations of those who prefer traditional plotlines.

But in spite of this, ‘Kaala Paani’ has such noticeable flaws as somewhat scattered narration. However, the film compensates by making insightful observations and providing a vivid account of a troubled world that keeps the audience interested.

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