Ranjish Hi Sahi (2022) Review

Amala Paul's sparkling turn can't save this badly-written semi-autobiographical show

Rony Patra -

Ranjish Hi Sahi (2022) Review
Platform
Voot Select
Platform Icons Click To Stream
Format
Original Series Review
Movie Rated
16+
Genre
DRAMA
Language
Hindi

What is the story about?

In 1976, struggling film director Shankar Vats, who is married to Anju and has a daughter, tries to convince reigning superstar Amna Parvez to do a film with him. However, while she refuses, Amna gets attracted to Shankar and becomes obsesses with him. The rest of the series is about Shankar's own journey and how he is constantly torn between Anju and Amna. 

Analysis

How far would you go to help out someone in need, often at the cost of your peace of mind? At a point towards the end of Ranjish Hi Sahiwe think of this question via a superbly-written scene between Shankar and his mother. Having made a series of flop films in a row, Shankar has also reached a point in his life when he has become exhausted, in trying to care for an actress he has complicated feelings for, and in trying to save his own marriage. His mother tells him very simply that he can't play God as he is only human.
 
It's a touching scene that is loaded with significance, and it would have probably been the crowning achievement on a well-written screenplay exploring the messiness of a love triangle. However, Ranjish Hi Sahi feels like an overdone, overwrought and melodramatic mishmash of various late-1990s and early 2000s hits from the Vishesh Films stable. Creator Mahesh Bhatt's life has been a messy one, and if his 1998 film Zakhm explored the problematic aftermath of his own inter-faith parentage, his affair with the late Parveen Babi became the basis for Mohit Suri's 2006 film Woh Lamhe. The stories of both films seem to be recycled in a 1970s setting, complete with appropriate referencing (Amar Akbar Anthony gets a mention as another film) and even characters based on Shakti Samanta and Vinod Khanna. The production design may be suited to the larger-than-life aesthetic of 1970s Mumbai, but the series itself feels very dated and leaves you with a feeling of ennui. Pushpdeep Bharadwaj, who is credited with the story, screenplay, dialogues and direction, writes an eight-episode show that feels like a 2000s film stretched like chewing gum. There are a few good moments, but if you have a badly-written screenplay, the impact of those moments also gets diluted, and Ranjish Hi Sahi wastes a good cast in the process. Watch it only if you love the Vishesh Films brand of melodramatic stories and decent music.

Performances

It's weird to think that Tahir Raj Bhasin has another show coming out this week where he again plays the object of another woman's unhealthy desire, but here he is okay as Shankar. Though his portrayal is underwhelming and suffers on account of bad writing, he gets a few good moments in the last three episodes. Amrita Puri is vastly underrated, and it is a pain to watch her try to salvage poor writing and hammy dialogues in project after project. Even here, her portrayal of Anju is good. However, it is Amala Paul who is literally unstoppable as the tempestuous Amna. Prone to paranoid schizophrenia, Amna disintegrates in the second half of the show, and Paul constantly switches between emotions, killing it in a scene where she confronts Anju at the end.
 
Zarina Wahab is superb as Shankar's mother, while Paras Priyadarshan is okay as his brother Ganesh. Madan Deodhar and Naina Sareen provide support as Amna's staff Abdul and Mary. Saurabh Sachdeva hams it up as Jagmohan, an arrogant producer, while Uday Chandra is reassuring as a watchmaker.

Music & Other Departments

The music and production design of the series is decent.

Highlights

Amala Paul's performance as Amna is the only major highlight.

Drawbacks

  • A choppily-written screenplay
  • Over-the-top and melodramatic treatment
  • Recycling of themes from previous films by the Vishesh Films banner

Did I enjoy it?

I enjoyed it in parts, but as a whole, the show left me disappointed.

Do I recommend it?

Watch it only if you love the melodrama and over-the-top treatment associated with the films from the Vishesh Films banner.


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