FLESH Review | FLESH Web Series Review | FLESH Eros Now Review|BOTTOM LINE: Mostly Engaging, Partly Repulsive Thriller
Skin and Swear: Umpteen Instances of Strong Language and On-Screen Intimacy
|Platform: ErosNow||Genre: Crime|
What Is the Story About?
NRI couple Shekhar and Reba’s nearly-two-decade marriage is falling apart; the latter feels she has had enough dealing with his infidelity for years. Before they call it quits, they head to a relative’s marriage in India, probably their last as a couple, along with their daughter Zoya. There’s trouble in the paradise when Zoya suddenly goes missing after the wedding. When all their requests to find her kidnapped daughter through the police department fall on deaf ears, Shekhar feels it’s best to let an upright cop Radha, who’s currently on a suspension, take over the reins of the case independently. The case is deeply intertwined to the past of the protagonists, more than they can ever imagine.
The show hugely banks on Swara Bhaskar’s act as a cop who doesn’t give two hoots for the rulebooks and trusts her gut instinct. She remains composed, agile and gives everything to the portrayal during the lighter and the intense moments of the show. Akshay Oberoi appears to have had great fun in playing a sex-addict, monstrous gangster and displays enough maturity to give a unique sense of stylisation to its portrayal. Mahima Makwana as Zoya shows promise and so does Yudhishtir Urs in the role of the former’s on-screen father. It’s disappointing that an actor as capable as Vidya Malvade is offered mediocre mother roles project after project that doesn’t give any respect to her mettle. Uday Tikekar as the conniving businessman is a delight to watch and Sayandeep Sengupta does justice to his brief yet impactful role.
There’s an uneasy feeling in the stomach when you see the makers of a show sink their teeth into establishing a sex trafficking mafia backdrop in gory detail. Though the filmmaker Danish Aslam in Flesh does that only to lend authenticity to the setting, it feels like his team has failed to recognise the thin line between storytelling and glorification in the context of the antagonism depicted in the story. In a sensitive story revolving around flesh trade, one expects the director to use his creative license and aesthetic sense to mirror reality with some responsibility. Several criminal acts showcased in the show have a celebratory tone and are repulsive.
Flesh, riding on the popularity of dark thrillers in the digital medium, normalises explicit treatment, violence and gore and it takes time to get used to its pitch. Despite the thematic similarity to Mardaani, Flesh, to its credit, has a multi-layered story with a solid emotional angle. The detailing is top-notch, too disturbing that you wouldn’t want to know more. If you can stomach the initial episodes with some restraint, Flesh has some wonderful moments to offer. The plot is consistently on the move, there are interesting backstories and dimensions to each character unveiled across every episode.
It’s a relief that Flesh doesn’t try to focus on the gender of its protagonist beyond necessity. The gender is never an excuse to portray her vulnerability; in fact, the casualness and fearlessness of Radha as a cop are refreshing to watch. The director balances the realism in the story with enough cinematic touches. There’s a compelling brother-sister subplot that lends it a flavour of a 70s masala film. Most of the action sequences, though realistic, are too raw for the naked eye but the murder set to a western classical piece is an innovative way to choreograph a stunt.
The show is suggestive of the fact that going by the law-book needn’t always ensure one justice. The twists and turns in the narrative are timed well but it’s certainly not a show you would remember for its filmmaking aesthetics. Flesh remains a plot-driven narrative, although it’s the personal stories of the characters that strike an emotional chord. It’s disappointing that shows like Sacred Games despite being raw and authentic to their setting have paved the way for digital shows that thrive on erotica and violence. Flesh keeps you hooked, though its treatment isn’t something the fainthearted can digest.
Music and Other Departments?
The music duo Manas-Shikhar give their best shot to come up with a score that reflects the dreary setting of the show. A significant chunk of the visuals alternates between being raunchy and gut-wrenching. Director Danish Aslam, after a refreshing rom-com like Break Ke Baad, brings together a show that’s completely different from his debut though it’s fair to say he’s gone overboard in establishing the backdrop. Flesh could have done with a lesser-running time though there are not many moments where you’re left to look at your watch. The writing of the show is its strength, though it’s the execution where it could have pushed the envelope.
Swara Bhaskar’s performance Good story Enough twists and turns
Repulsive and gory in parts Multiple mediocre episodes to begin with Glorifies its antagonists beyond necessity
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Only those who’re fond of dark thrillers
Review by Binged Bureau
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