Kalki Koechlin is a natural fit in the psychological thriller space with Bhram. She has always been an actor who has made us feel for her roles, offering a peek into her mind while also giving her parts the right amount of quirkiness and mystery. Her expressions, sharp dialogue delivery don't overdo the psychological/physical aspect of acting and it isn't tough to guess that's the reason behind her adaptability across various genres too. Here, she gets to play a novelist Alisha Khanna, going through a post-traumatic stress disorder, yet to come to terms with her husband's death in a gruesome accident. While Alisha ideates her upcoming novel in her sister Ankita’s house, a recluse welcomes her to the hilly town that she’s here to change things for the better. She’s confused by the reaction but is also increasingly overcome by a sense of déjà vu about the place, the people and its surroundings. Persistently troubled by the memories of her past with her husband and the accident, she also has regular visions about a teenage girl and a supposed two-horned mystery man. The world dismisses it as a hallucination. Suddenly, she’s also the only link to a series of murders in the town. What’s exactly happening? Bhram puts a viewer through a lot of questions and unravels the mysteries with good tact too. The path towards the excellently-staged finale though is quite rocky (just like the town in which it is set). Too many sequences account for nothingness and the character establishment is dull and unimaginative. It takes almost the fourth episode for the series to get going and arrive at the core of the plot. A series of murders, folklore about the forest, a murder whose pattern is eerily similar to a 20-year-old incident that shook the village, the suspense about the killer’s identity - bring zip to the narrative henceforth. The interweaving of the flashback and the present-day setting yields half-baked results though. Like most Sangeeth Sivan outings, the visual appeal of the story is quite surreal. The story has an interesting take on obsession in love and even attributes it to an obsessive-compulsive disorder. The folksy spin to the narrative, through an animalistic character in the forest who punishes anyone sinning in his territory, warrants your attention too. The characterisation of Kalki, especially towards the end where she tells that ‘I end up finding a love story in whatever I observe’ while talking about her just-released thriller, shows the homework the makers have put in to establish the mind of a writer. Apart from a redoubtable Kalki, it’s good to see Bhumika back in Hindi films/content and there’s something very fluid and nice about her diction in Bhram - it is crystal-clear, sweet and equally mature. Vikram Kocchar is a revelation in his notorious role as a creepy driver while Sanjay Suri doesn’t have enough meat in his part to make his presence felt. Eijaz Khan and Omkar Kapoor have very little to do. Chandan Roy Sanyal brings some style to his portrayal of a cop, but the sleazy peek into his sex-life was rather unwarranted. What hurts Bhram is its simplistic quality. There’s minimal nuance in the storytelling (despite the potent story) and the absence of a good subplot to strengthen the protagonist’s ambiguity don’t help matters. With all the material it had, you wish it had something more profound and deeper to say. There are intermittent sparks and reasonable performances that salvage this modestly executed series to a certain extent. Rating: 2.5/5
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