It’s hard to describe what you feel after watching Aha’s Ugadi offering Sin. It leaves a lump in your throat but, as a viewer, you feel cheated. The official adaptation of Hoichoi’s Hello discusses a pertinent issue through the eyes of a married woman whose abusive partner has no idea about mutual consent in a relationship. In a discussion with a lawyer he says, “She’s my wife. I have a right (to have sex with her, even if it’s forced)” But, Sin isn’t what it appears to be.
The emotional turmoil of the young wife is reduced as a mere plot device to focus on another issue that the narrative doesn’t prepare you for. It’s good for a show to have surprises, but does it need to happen at the cost of one issue hijacking the importance of the other? The twist is a superb one cinematically and has great shock value, just that it isn’t sensitive enough to the other ‘issue’ it wants to discuss.
The show’s setup is a patriarchal one (though it doesn’t celebrate it). Nanditha on the first night of her marriage is given a white sari to wear and informed about a muhurat where her husband Anand could begin the ‘act’. She resists but hardly has a choice. Nanditha also tries hard to move past the brother-in-law’s creepy sexual advances, the mother-in-law’s qualms about not knowing how to please her husband. The sister-in-law is the only figure in the house who empathises with the concerns of Nanditha. Meanwhile, Anand is off to a steamy affair with a colleague Neena at an NGO where he works.
The good premise apart, the treatment is unquestionably shady. Beyond the issues of the protagonist, the show is mostly interested in only romanticising the affair between Anand and Neena. The show keeps moving at a quick pace but is distracted. It doesn’t get into the heart of an issue wholeheartedly – the focus is very superficial. Most men in the show are super-sexist – be it the male protagonist, his colleagues, his creepy brother. In fact, the mother-in-law too is as patriarchal as her male counterparts. The universe certainly needed a better balance.
Sin could have been the Telugu web space’s answer to Taapsee’s Thappad if it was done right. The ending, which clearly hints at another season, merely makes it a battle of ego between the husband and the wife. The sister-in-law who compels Nanditha to question her husband initially is ignored later, especially at a time when she could have been the pillar of support for the protagonist. The chain-pilfering episode too doesn’t any value to the show either.
What rescues Sin to an extent is the performances. Thiruveer, the theatre-product, is a great choice to play the egoist, toxic male protagonist and the fact that he makes the viewer loathe the character by the end of the show, says enough about the impact he creates. Deepti Sati lets the character Nanditha evolve well across the seven-episode span – she conveys the discomfort and trauma experienced by Nanditha through her eyes and subtle expressions. Ravi Varma has always been an actor who slips into the skin of his roles with ease and Sin confirms the same. Jennifer Piccinato isn’t as effective and impactful as her other co-actors while character artiste Padmaja shines in a brief role as a mother-in-law.
Filmmaker Naveen Medaram, who had disappointed with Babu Baga Busy, betters himself slightly with Sin – but the material doesn’t have enough conviction in discussing the issues it screams aloud about.