Cast: Anjali, Aadarsh Balakrishna, Chandini Chowdary
There’s a tiny 15-minute stretch during the six-episodes of Jhansi where several ideas click into place. In what’s otherwise a wasteland of dullness, you finally see the initial thought that must have excited a group of people to invest both their time and money. The show itself is about a woman named Jhansi who keeps getting flashes of a past she can no longer recollect. Stuck in suburban Hyderabad, in what could be defined as upper middle-class bliss, she feels the need to dig deep to unearth her real identity and the box-set of Matt Damon’s Bourne series (2002-2016) she never got around to watching.
On paper, it’s not half bad to reimagine a woman with a dangerous past into the context of this domestic bliss. She runs a roaring fashion label, and both her partner and his little daughter seem to be very happy to have Jhansi in their life. Yet she finds herself struggling to fall asleep with these flashes of a past she cannot recollect. It is this plight that doesn’t really allow her to move ahead. Her partner Sankeeth wants to marry her but she cannot. Her adopted daughter calls her by name and even this does not evolve into motherhood because Jhansi does not know if that’s even her real name.
Isn’t this one angle good enough to extend into a fairly engaging mini series? Not at all, the makers of this show would declare emphatically. Because they want to squeeze in so many back stories, ancillary characters and sub-plots that they want the show to keep running forever. Which means that it’s not just about Ms.Bourne. They also want her to become a legit vigilante too with a side of Ghajini. The origins of this superhero, for one, isn’t as complicated as you’d think because a) the show stops making sense by that point and b) Jhansi, being the designer, can tailor her own costume.
The concoction we’re left with is a lethal mix of cringe and confusing. Take the case of how the show begins with a murder of a child molester. We’re soon introduced to the investigating police officer who is also conveniently related to the lead characters. But when the show itself completely forgets about this case, we’re left thinking about how useless these cops are at their job. Which is striking because there’s a whole lot of murders that go undetected without anyone to investigate. Maybe Jhansi amnesia is transferable?
The cringe aspect comes from the many dialogues that feel like a computer wrote it. Every vilain in the show speaks like they’re motivational speakers extolling wisdom just seconds before they kill someone. It’s all a bit of a blur once these villains keep flocking in with multiple timelines and no clear motivations in sight. Apart from maintaining the same confused expression for the length of the show and the million shots of her jogging every morning, even the usually dependable Anjali gets nothing to do here. Without any sort of sensitivity even when it has to deal with subjects like trafficking and child abuse, Jhansi is a series that leaves you hoping for the same amnesia the lead is afflicted with.