Ghoul, the mini series in Netflix that bees aired in Netflix happens to be the first Indian horror series which unnerves the viewers by critiquing the socio-political malaise we are overrun with.
It is seeks to bring the perils of hyper-nationalism to the fore and unsettle us by every which means. Ghoul unravels in a dystopian world, this three episode mini series which surfaced Friday morning seems to shed light on the alarming rise of ‘Islamophobia’ we are afflicted with.
It further breaks the code of the chest-thumping jingoism that is reigning supreme these days.
Horror here was used as a tool to create a bleak world under military rule where sectarian violence stems from the deep distrust among various ethnic communities. Religious bigotry is the sole content of the series. Ghoul comes from the producers of Get Out, Insidious, Paranormal Activity called Blumhouse Production which was in collaboration with Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, adhu Mantena and Vikas Bahl’s Phantom Films that paints morbid greys, blacks and blues to emphasize on the ghoulish atmosphere of a world where divisive politics and violence against minorities are sinfully real. It cleaves this world into two, in one side of the barricade, there are true patriots and in the other side those who rock the boat.
There is a crackdown of intellectuals who believe that ‘terrorists are there in our own’ and you need to comply to the fascist regime that uses words like Farz and Matrubhumi to brainwash and rein in those people. The story revolves around Nida Rahim, the top performer in a military academy (Radhika Apte) who turns in her father, an intellectual imbued with anti-government ideals, was later subjected to the religion based prejudices when she joins Meghdoot 31, a covert detention center.
The interrogating officers in the military base could outnumber the suspected terrorists where the arrival of a new prisoner Ali Saed (played by Mahesh Balraj) upsets the base, evokes fear, tension and discomfort. Rahim, on the other side is the military personnel who is tasked to deal with these radicalized elements to discover the truth where other military personnel chase the hyper-nationalist goals and carry on the witch-hunting.
Indian horror genre was so far hackneyed that thrives around vengeful dayans/ghosts but in Ghoul, the borrowed from the Arabian folklore where an evil spirit impersonates its victim and eats his flesh. It is, in plainspeak a cross-hatch among cultures and the story tarnishes the image of hyper-nationalism that is running amok.
The most disturbing moments are etched on the screen by Bhattacharjee, the nationalist officer while the other characters bring out the emotions pretty deftly on the screen too. Overall, Ghoul successfully sends the chills down the spine by sewing horror with socially-relevant tales. Anyone who opposes the government is termed as radical here and eliminated under the pretext of being terrorists. In this age where dissent is subdued by burning the books, subjecting the educational institutes to puppetry for the government, Ghoul is a cinematic counter answer.