Duranga review: Gulshan Devaiah delivers his career-best performance opposite Drashti Dhami in creepy thriller

The Indian film industry and even the OTT content is currently riddled with adaptions, remakes and the so-called ‘inspired’ stories from either the South, Hollywood or Korean dramas. There’s nothing wrong in lifting successful stories for commercial gains with due credit, but not all manage to do justice to what they choose to recreate. As many continue to debate over the quality of Aamir Khan’s adaption of Tom Hanks-starrer Forrest Gump in Laal Singh Chaddha, Gulshan Devaiah and Drashti Dhami’s new ZEE5 thriller series Duranga is thankfully a decent official adaptation of award-winning Korean series, Flower of Evil. Though it appears almost a scene-to-scene copy of the original, Duranga does leave an impact with the brilliant performances by its lead characters in the Indian setting.

Duranga, meaning dual-faced, revolves around the story of a murder accused, living under the garb of a perfect family man, husband and father. He is a house husband who cooks, cleans and spends his free time sculpting in his workshop at home, while his breadwinner wife solves crime cases as a police officer. The two eventually become a part of a cat and mouse game in their own house. What is worth praising about the concept is unlike Ki & Ka, there is no conversation around the unconventional role-reversal. The wife promises to protect her husband, who doesn’t mind the roles they have.

Gulshan Devaiah plays Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde characters with such finesse that you even wonder if anyone could have ever played it better than him. Portraying a restrained character who doesn’t feel emotions of love, happiness or sorrow and takes the help of online tutorials to learn to smile or cry, Gulshan delivers a believable performance. Drashti, too, does well as a cop and as a broken-hearted wife fighting with her own demons while being caught between her personal and professional life.

Last time I was blown away by an Indian adaption of a romantic thriller was when Rasika Dugal and Purab Kohli followed Doctor Foster to the T in their Indian version, Out of Love. Duranga, too, refuses to experiment and manages to create the same impact as the original. With a tight screenplay and a rich story like this one, Duranga somewhere stands close to Arshad Warsi’s suspense thriller series, Asur.

Creator Goldie Behl deserves to take a bow this time for the clarity with which he presents the intense, multi-climax drama. His earlier college drama Rejctx suffered due to a confusing screenplay despite a decent story. Not even once does he leave the room for the viewer to move away from the screen or struggle with the dodgy storyline. However, there are still some glaring mistakes which are too big to go unnoticed. Fortunately, the next twist makes you move over it quickly.

Tightly edited, the nine-episode series ends at a crucial juncture, setting the mood for a sequel. But there’s a complaint, every story deserves atleast a partial closure. No matter how successful a series is, until its no ‘Why did Katappa killed Baahubali’ question, the viewer doesn’t retain the same interest until the arrival of the second season. All we can hope we don’t end up getting too little, too late whenever the creators bounce back with the next installment.


Creator: Goldie Behl

Cast: Gulshan Devaiah, Drashti Dhami, Rajesh Khattar, Divya Sheth, Abhijit Khandkekar

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