by Paresh B. Mehta
The eighth episode of ZEE5 Original ‘Parchhayee: Ghost Stories by Ruskin Bond’ lives up to its reputation and the high standards of the horror genre. Once again the exceptional director Suman Mukhopadhyay mesmerizes us with his brilliance at keeping the viewer glued to the story without resorting to any typical Bollywood type histrionics like cloudy nights, loud screams or make-up laden characters or overuse of chills. This episode’s flow is classy all through and so engrossing that one hardly would wish to take a break while keeping you in tenterhooks as the story unfolds. Check out episode 8 of Parchhayee: Ghost Stories by Ruskin Bond here.
Parchhayee appears to be set in a small town and it begins with a young photographer requesting the haveli’s old gatekeeper’s permission to go inside for clicking pics of old artefacts which could bring him more popularity in the current digital world of networking. Unimpressed with the young guy’s persistence and even refusing a bribe, the old man’s only condition is that the photographer has to listen to the story of Ganpat, which he hesitantly agrees to sit through.
Ganpat (Kunaal Roy Kapur) is a free-lance crime scene photographer for the Police Force and hence is meagerly paid off and on which makes his wife Vaishali (Rajshri Deshpande) cribbing about the odd jobs he executes often referring to it as a ‘dirty job’. Vaishali finds it very difficult to make two ends meet yet strives to maintain the house well but is concerned about the education and future of their lovely daughter (Trisha Bisht).
It is the hopeless financial condition and greed of Ganpat which prompts him to visit the crime scene again and alone this time, in search of a diamond which he notices in one of the photos of the victim that he has freshly developed. While searching for the diamond Ganpat comes across a husky and lustful lady Lavani (Tannishtha Chatterjee) and falls in her trap.
Soumik Mukherjee’s cinematography sticks to the basics complementing Ruskin Bond’s superlative narrative. ZEE5’s Originals has successfully tapped the untapped potential of unrecognized talent of directors such as Suman Mukhopadhyay who has to be credited with coming up with classics, particularly in the horror genre which is the most difficult of them.
Kunaal Roy Kapur’s characterization of Ganpat doesn’t exactly come up with the required emotions of greed and lust which ideally would have been expected. Yet it is his underplay of the under-paid crime-scene photographer which we actually see around us, that lends realism to the story.
The two female characters in Parchhayee actually shine ‘like a Diamond’ with their excellent performances. Tannishtha’s lusty, seductive lady’s characterization is equally matched with the brilliance of Rajshri Deshpande as the housewife who always yearns to give at least a decent childhood to her daughter.
Overall, it is the subtle treatment without any overdose of gaudy horror or gory scenes that works here. The simplicity of its screenplay, characters and the settings still manage to grip you and create scares to that extent that there are several instances of spine chilling moments.
This is why ZEE5 Originals with their brevity yet effective storytelling are preferred, and obviously catching up. Avid fans of chilling stories would simply lap this up.