Grahan adapted from Satya Vyas’s Chaurasi, written and directed by Ranjan Chandel is brilliant production
with its heart in the right place
Chaurasi is surely going to be in focus soon, considering the upcoming elections in the next couple of years when the old demons will be brought back into public space, open for discussion and postmortem to suit political agendas. This is an assumption based on previous experiences, and also from the news that Kashmir Files’ producer is going to open yet another file – and that would be The Delhi Files.
1984 is one of the earmarked years of independent India that will be known for murder of the prime minister, riots and of friends yet again turning against each other over religion. It is a reminder that it is not very difficult easy to provoke people against each other. “Each of us carries within ourselves hatred, and anger of different kind, and during riots this hatred becomes a deadly weapon” – this is one of the dialogues in the webseries ‘Grahan’ currently streaming on Disney Hotstar.
Satya Vyas’s successful novel ‘Chaurasi’ is adapted with much success as ‘Grahan’.
Directed by Ranjan Chandel, the web series is based on the much popular story ‘Chaurasi’ by Hindi writer Satya Vyas who is known for his beautiful love stories. The story is set against the riots that killed scores of sikhs in various parts of India (in this case Bokaro) post the assassination of ex-prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi. Protagonist Rishi falls in love with his room owner’s daughter, a Sardarni – Manu and what ensues is this innocent and playful romance of two simple people living in the industrial town, who are later caught in the riots provoked by vested interests. The story is about how innocent and normal people get caught in the web of events during strife and how most of the times those who killed and those who are killed have no clue why they do what they do or suffer what they suffer. Meanwhile innocent lives are lost, families are destroyed and a city bears witness to a carnage that will continue to burden it for years and decades later.
The memories of the night of the riots continue to haunt the people of the town years later, and the skeletons come tumbling out, when a SIT headed by officer Amrita Singh is assigned the task of unravelling the truth behind Bokaro riots. (Chief Minister of Bihar is interested in bringing back the case, 30 years later with prime motive of pinning down the opponent, who is behind instigating the youth back in the time).
In every politically driven riot, there is no such thing as one truth. And, when a film maker tries to recreate history either as non-fiction or fiction it is his/her responsibility to showcase the different truths with objectivity. Sensitivity in dealing with emotions and experiences of the affected, who continue to live to tell the tale is another important aspect that models the work of art – be it a film or a web series.
What makes Grahan a must watch is the way the director has adapted the popular book into his screenplay, seamlessly weaving in the various emotions and sensitively portraying the various characters judiciously cast to deliver heart touching performances.
Grahan has the endearing quality of a love story and retains the same even as the narrative shifts back and forth to anti-sikh riots as some really shocking incidents unravel. Technically too, the film gets a high five for recreating the different time zones, the places, the look and the feel of Jharkhand (Bihar) of the 80s to now.
Pavan Malhotra, Zoya Hussain, Anshuman Pushkar, Wamiqa Gabbi, Teekam Joshi and Sahidur Rahman are the cast, and what a cast – for this amazing web series.
Our Verdict: Must Watch
The cinematography of Kamaljeet Singh