Director: Vivek K
Producer: Chidambaram Natesan, Trendloud
Cast: Giorgia Andriani, Meena
Streaming Platform: ZEE5
Karoline Kamakshi spans ten episodes, about twenty minutes each. It is a Tamil web show, streaming on Zee5, about two female cops, Karoline from France, and Kamakshi from Chennai trying to take down Furkin, the head of a crime syndicate attempting to trade a precious artifact. Karoline and Kamakshi are supposed to track him down and get their hands on said artifact, stolen from a museum.
Let’s look at the name Furkin. In Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Vogue feature, Lauren Collins wrote:
“Sometimes she’ll build an entire episode to showcase a single joke, as she did with the Fleabag episode in which Fleabag’s sister, Claire, gets a haircut that looks like a semicolon draped itself over her skull.”
Here too, the name Furkin seems to have been given, just for a single joke to land, exhausted in the first episode itself. It’s not a funny joke. Chidambaram is training some CBI officers when his French friend calls.
“Do you know Furkin?”
Chidambaram, while on stage, in front of his students, responds “I may be a bachelor, but I am not a virgin. I know fourteen different types of fucking.”
I groaned, and strapped on for ten more episodes of equally if not more frustrating humour and dialogue exchanges. (Writers need to be paid more) Kamakshi, played by Meena is annoying, conservative, and tries too hard. Karoline is over-sexed with an alcohol problem that isn’t diagnosed, and tries too little. She has an accent that is supposed to be French but sounds like an aspirational Indian imitating the colonial twang. At one point, when a peripheral character talks about her, he says France, but it is subtitled as “London”. My hypothesis bore fruit.
Their performances are histrionic and untamed. When Karoline is introduced, she drinks straight from the bottle and as auto-drivers attempt to harass her, she kicks butt. An entry befitting a “hero”- but then she descends into a character that is bad at everything she attempts to do- getting caught by the police, slipping between criminals piss drunk, often articulating hopelessness, and a total lack of clarity. Kamakshi, on the other hand, who starts off as the lazy, and incompetent detective, becomes the one who tracks down criminals, hypothesizes potential solutions, keeps both her hope and her intuition running, but remains manifestly annoying with her high pitched running commentary.
This series is a study of dated, directionless film-making. The action set pieces are laughably 80s, where the sound of the punch comes before the punch, or the kick that looks painless is given an effect of bones cracking, gunshots are fired in laughably odd ways, and the choreography of the fights themselves are befitting of the largely incompetent detectives that Karoline and Kamakshi are. There is a ticking countdown on screen that you stop caring for before even the first episode closes, because there is no attempt, at the narrative level, to build suspense.
If watched together, episode after episode like an uncut tapestry, you could finish the entire season in under 4 hours. (I do not recommend this) If the series were better edited, probably 2 and a half. (There are altogether irrelevant sequences that could and should have been chopped mercilessly) They could have just made it into a movie then- not that this would have made it more bearable. It would have just made the pain of watching the story unfold less prolonged.