Cast: Naga Chaitanya, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Prachi Desai, Pasupathy, Ravindra Vijay, Tharun Bhascker, Rohini, Anish Kuruvilla, Tanikella Bharani, Eeshwari Rao, Raja Goutham
Director: Vikram K Kumar
Producers: Sharrath Marar
Music Director: Ishaan Chhabra
Cinematographer: Mikolaj Sygula
Editor: Navin Nooli
Available for streaming in multiple languages, “Dhootha” marks the OTT debut of Tollywood actor Naga Chaitanya. The series, directed and written by Vikram K Kumar, delves into the life of Sagar (Naga Chaitanya), a celebrated journalist who becomes the Chief Editor of Samachar newspaper. However, his joy is short-lived as a string of tragedies strikes his life, eerily predicted by newspaper clippings. As Sagar grapples with these premonitions and struggles to uncover the mystery behind them, the series unfolds into a gripping narrative.
The strength of storytelling takes precedence in “Dhootha.” Although the basic premise might resemble Vikram Kumar’s previous work, “13B,” his adept storytelling captivates the audience. The series hooks viewers from the onset, employing a blend of compelling visuals, a gripping background score, and impressive production design to maintain suspense.
The series is punctuated with thrilling sequences, particularly the portrayal of various deaths that keep the audience on edge. Vikram K Kumar weaves a poignant societal message into the narrative seamlessly, incorporating multiple layers and characters that cohesively drive the story towards its conclusion.
Naga Chaitanya’s debut on the OTT platform is commendable, portraying a character with two shades convincingly. Parvathy Thiruvothu’s performance steals the limelight, despite initial adjustments required for her dubbing.
Supporting actors like Priya Bhavani Shankar, Prachi Desai, Pasupathy, Ravindra Vijay, Tharun Bhascker, among others, deliver solid performances. The series benefits from a climactic episode where twists unfold amidst a backdrop of rainfall, enhancing the overall viewing experience.
The flashback segments lack impact and could have been executed more effectively to bolster the series’ impact. Moreover, a shorter runtime would have heightened the impact, especially considering pacing issues in the mid-episodes. Additionally, the inclusion of certain profanities might not resonate well with all audiences.
Ishaan Chhabra’s haunting background score complements the narrative effectively, while Mikolaj Sygula’s cinematography stands out, showcasing a visually arresting series. However, despite solid production values, the editing could have been improved.
“Dhootha” emerges as a captivating mystery thriller despite a familiar plot. Vikram K Kumar’s adept direction and layered storytelling ensure an engaging watch. Stellar performances by the cast and high production standards serve as the series’ primary strengths. Nonetheless, a shorter runtime and more impactful flashbacks could have elevated the overall viewing experience. Nevertheless, Naga Chaitanya’s portrayal and the series’ technical finesse make it a recommended watch for this weekend.