What if you wake up one day only to realize #SabBHRAMHai and it was all untrue? Kalki Koechlin tries to unfold the illusion and unravel the mystery as she traverses between real and unreal in ZEE5 Original Bhram. She plays a popular romantic novelist Alisha Khanna in the web series. Psychological horror-thriller is perhaps the least explored genre in the digital drama arena and Bhram benefits largely from it. Based on K. Hari Kumar’s novel ‘The Other Side of Her,’ Bhram has been directed by Sangeeth Sivan and also stars Sanjay Suri, Eijaz Khan, Bhumika Chawla, Chandan Roy Sanyal amongst others in important roles.
Bhram is a tight bound scary series, juggling between terrors of the mind and mankind. The eight-part show orbits around a spooked-out Alisha Khanna, who suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the death of her husband (played by Omkar Kapoor). She heads to the scenic hill-station of Shimla to seek retreat from the recent turn of events in her life and stay with her sister Ankita (Bhumika Chawla) and her husband Peter Paul (Sanjay Suri). A mini-vacation soon takes the shape of a spook-fest as Alisha begins to see people that may or may not exist. She wallows deeper into the web of mystery as the narrative oscillates from an incident that took place 20 years ago to now. Ukara is a mythical creature, said to reside in the area and kill those who do wrong in the jungle.
Who are the people haunting Alisha, what is the purpose of her life, who is Ukkala are some of the questions the first few episodes arouse in your mind. By the time you hit the climax, chills have set in, with a few shivers down the spine from time to time. But it all circles back to where it began – #SabBHRAMHai?
Kalki seems to have an inherent inclination towards characters with karmic connect, away from the zone of normalcy. The irreproachable and unconventional aspect of her personality is milked to its maximum potential as she mumbles and jumbles as Alisha. As a central character of the story, her stressful eyes search for a clue to help her differentiate between the world and that beyond the visible. She brilliantly houses in the mind and body of Alisha, a novelist struggling hard to make sense of reality while doom looms at large.
Sanjay, Eijaz, Bhumika, Chandan, Vikram Kochhar, Satyadeep Misra are all a part of the larger story. Their character graphs are well stretched and spaced, giving each one enough room to breathe and behold. Each of these actors, especially Suri, mold the structure of the script into a more definite shape. They all hide a Pandora box of their own, also contributing to Alisha’s life while battling a crisis of their own. All in all, the supporting cast comes in equipped with an arsenal of fine chops and impeccable timing to dole out a convincing act.
Besides a stellar star cast, Sivan banks on the picturesque locales of Himachal Pradesh to add meat to the material. The aloofness of the roads and jungles in the mountainous terrain makes up for the scarcity of screams and shivers in scenes as an incorrigible supernatural fanatic would expect. A blanket of dark skies, a forest out of bounds, a cabin in the woods may all seem cliche at first but add heavily to the multi-folds of mystery. Few episodes end on a high note while others leave you wondering, but that in no way takes away from the interest and intrigue in the plot.
The title song of Bhram is another effective addition, keeping you loyal enough to sit through the eight episodes. The background score by Kingshunk Chakravarty, Mahesh Sridhar’s production design, Shaju Chandran and Pratik Chitalia’s editing and Vidushi Tiwari, Suman Sahu and Sandeep Yadav’s cinematography all work towards creating an enigma. Having said that, a few thrills could have been left at the edit table.
Throw Hitchcock’s suspense and Shyamlan’s fear of the unknown into the mix and you get Kalki Koechlin’s Bhram. Binge-watch it in one go!
In the meantime, catch the latest episodes of Movie Masti with Maniesh Paul only on ZEE5.