‘Typerwriter’ is eerie and scary but fun to watch

What works is the ever-dependable Purab Kohli as a caring single parent and an inquisitive cop trying to piece together a scenario of baffling sinisterness

Image Courtesy: social media
Image Courtesy: social media

Subhash K Jha

A typewriter is an obsolete instrument. Much like the typical miniseries on television which has now been taken over by the smart sexy  web series with production values that could put an average Subhash Ghai film to shame.

And yet the sheer vintage value of the ‘typewriter’ is preserved in writer-director Sujoy Ghosh’s engaging genre-conforming yet unorthodox  supernatural webseries. What is  it about? You may well ask. It’s about a discarded typewriter which does sinister things on its own, like pounding out corny messages like ‘Bhoot is not Jhooth.

Jhoot or not , Sujoy’s re-Bhoot series stretching slinkily into five episodes has a lot of fun with spirits. The writing is sprightly yet dark, grim yet giggly, smart and briskly paced. This is not to suggest that Ghosh is here trying to do a Stree….you know, make  ghost funny. To its credit though Typewriter  succeeds in being humorous while scaring the hell out of us.

A family moves into an abandoned yet  strikingly picturesque bungalow in Goa. We soon realise that the mom Jenny (Palomi Ghosh) has a deep and devastating connect with the home.  Here is where the series gathers its strength and hits a solid punch in our solar plexus.

Jenny’s husband played by Samir Kochhar is involved with a tartish temptress who has one of  the  series’ funniest scenes with Kochhar in a car. There is also a lengthy flashback about a matriarch’s witchcraft powers shot in an enticing orange glow that  suggests a state of exploitative saturation. This flashback sneaks in a little homage to Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Mera baap chorhai’ tattoo from Deewaar, and this as close to the Bachchan as  a webseries can get at the moment.

All this tends to scatter the plot, make it zig and zag through situations that would otherwise have been avoided in a tightly-edited feature film. Also, much as I loved the little girl Sam (played by Aarna Sharma) and her sleuthing activities with her young friends, it just didn’t seem to hit the right notes, veering from the over-cute to the outright listless.

What works is  the ever-dependable Purab Kohli as a caring single parent and an inquisitive cop trying to piece together a scenario of baffling sinisterness.

Some of scenes inside the haunted bungalow are exquisitely shot, capturing as they do the rhythms of everyday activities pressurized by a spell inexplicable happenings. Typewriter should have concentrated more on the ghostly dynamics of the Haunted  Haveli rather than run around collecting proof of its own adventurous spirit regarding the ghostly genre.

That having said, there is an ingrained warmth in  the storytelling. And though the child actors do not have a well-appointed space in the voluminous plot they succeed in  imbuing a great deal of honesty to the telling of a spooky story that has the potential to be a pedestrian shiver giver, but manages to become something more.

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