Creator & Writer: Ram Vignesh
Director: Pawan Kumar
Cast: Amala Paul, Eshwar Rachiraju, Pradeep Rudra, Rahul Vijay
Kudi Yedamaithe is created and written by Ram Vignesh, and directed by Pawan Kumar (Lucia, U Turn). The show has eight roughly half-hour episodes. The first one occurs on the night of February 29, 2020 when we see a frightened man running out of a building. He’s Aadhi (Rahul Vijay), a delivery guy for an app-based food delivery service and also a wannabe actor. The other major character is Durga (Amala Paul), a cop. She’s addicted to booze and claims it helps her relieve stress. She seems to be in a relationship with a man whose images make us wonder if he’s real or exists only in her imagination. Something happens between these two characters on the night of February 29, 2020: they get caught in a time loop.
If you’ve seen the Hollywood classic Groundhog Day, it’s a bit like that. Aadhi and Durga find themselves waking up on February 29 and they go through the motions. When they wake up the next day, it’s February 29 all over again — on and on, until infinity (which is probably why the title design has an infinity sign).
If you go through the same day repeatedly, you know what’s going to happen on that day. What if you did things a little differently using this knowledge? What if small actions could cause big ripples in the flow of time and cause disastrous consequences? What if you have to modify your actions to suit the lives of other characters?
Though other characters come into Durga and Aadhi’s time loop, they themselves have no idea that they’re in it. They just think they’re going through each day as a fresh one, and not the repeated day that Aadhi and Durga know that they’re going through. There’s a woman in her twenties who comes to the police station with a problem. There’s a gang that kidnaps children for ransom. There’s a prisoner in the police station’s jail who causes a lot of trouble. There’s a beggar who is somehow linked to the event that brought Aadhi and Durga together on that fateful night. The weakest subplot of the series has a murdered cop and an investigation into his death. It comes with a twist that I’m not sure I entirely bought.
Kudi Yedamaithe is a slow-burn series where you know the pace is deliberate. But I was never able to enter the series fully. I always watched with a little distance. The small details are fitted with clockwork like precision and yet, I wish there was little more life to the whole thing.
But the series really works, as a whole. The writing is very impressive and all the events and mini-events are superbly interlocked. This is also a very elegantly and thoughtfully shot series. As events get wilder, camera angles get weirder: They get tilted or the screen is split (but the lines that split the screen aren’t straight, they’re at weird angles).
Both Amala Paul and Rahul Vijay anchor the series with their earnest performances. The best thing about Kudi Yedamaithe is that it treats sci-fi in a normal manner. The premise of a time loop may be out of science fiction but at no point are we made to feel we’re watching something ‘abnormal’ or otherworldly. The series ends with a ‘to be continued” and I’ll be looking forward to season two.