Hasmukh: A good idea has gone haywire

Hasmukh is a disappointing series with a half-baked story that Vir Das and Ranvir Shorey cannot save with their performances

Photo Courtesy: Twitter
Photo Courtesy: Twitter

Biswadeep Ghosh

Hasmukh has killed our expectations. The ten-episode black comedy helmed by Nikhil Gonsalves that has started streaming on Netflix takes off promisingly. It has a few good performances, led by stand-up comic Vir Das, who sheds his Anglicised persona to play a young man from Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Das plays the character with visible comfort, making the series far less unwatchable than it might have been.

Weak writing is the biggest shortcoming of the series. Half a dozen individuals have teamed up to write it, among them Kal Ho Naa Ho's director Nikkhil Advani and Das himself. A classic case of too many cooks do you-know-what? That is correct.

With Das playing the lead, supported by genuine comic talents like Ranveer Shorey and Manoj Pahwa, many viewers must have been hoping to come across moments of side-splitting humour. That, unfortunately, is almost non-existent.

So, there is Hasmukh Sudiya (Das), a young man who aspires to be a stand-up comic. An orphan, he lives with his uncle and aunt. The latter sexually harasses him, an unfunny fact of his life. Her harassment of Hasmukh is used to generate humour of a lowly variety, which is pathetic.

Hasmukh’s self-centred guru (Manoj Pahwa) not only bullies him but also refuses to allow him to perform on stage, which he had promised. There is a confrontation between the two at the outset, and the meek Hasmukh ends up murdering him.

The basic idea of the series is in the right place. After all, Hasmukh has a burning desire for cracking jokes and making people laugh. But he also needs to kill to overcome stage fright and be at his best as a comedian. He doesn’t succeed in killing each of his targets, but he has an appetite for murder and a leather belt for execution most often.

The only good thing about the series is Ranvir and Das’s crackling chemistry. The former, who plays Hasmukh’s manager, is a greedy fellow for whom the end justifies the means. Hasmukh and he are a two-member team that does everything from getting rid of corpses to meeting mafia dons as the story progresses. How they go about their business makes for several interesting moments, which stand out in the mediocre show.

The series about a person such as Hasmukh could have taken a serious look into perversity. That, it does not. Alternatively, it could have been a funny story that took the idea non-seriously and bombarded us with gut-busting moments. It does not do that either.

The writers should have resisted the temptation of creating sequences with third-rate humour, such as the one in which a lecherous TV channel head (Ravi Kishan) cannot take his eyes off a cleavage-flashing colleague. Such a sequence is shockingly out of place in a series that aspires to be a polished product for an OTT platform.

Hasmukh had potential, but its half-baked screenplay lets it down. If you manage to see the entire thing, chances are you will do it because of the performances of Vir Das and Ranvir Shorey.

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