In the past few years, adaptation has become a cool experiment in Indian cinema. Whether it’s “Maqbool” by Vishal Bharadwaj or “Laal Singh Chaddha” by Advait Chandan, we, the audience, eagerly await the arrival of our old foreign wine in a new native bottle. Zee5, this time, brings “Duranga,” a fresh romance-thriller series that is an Indian adaptation of the popular Korean drama “Flower of Evil.” This nine-episode series, which was created by Goldie Behl and has been directed by Pradeep Sarkar and Aijaz Khan, explores the dual-hued lives of a happily married Sammit Patel and how his long-lost sinister past comes back to haunt him. How does he relate to the brutal, years-old Sarangwadi serial slaying cases? Is he really who he says he is? Is what he says true? However, the oil is quite hot; let’s crack the egg.
Who Is Abhishek Banne? Why Is He Searched For?
“Dual color” by its literal translation, the series “Duranga” pulls back the curtain to reveal the protagonist, Sammit Patel (Gulshan Devaiah), a perfect husband and father who is also a talented metal artist and a brilliant cook. His little world is surrounded by his loving wife, Ira (Drashti Dhami), a cop in the Mumbai crime branch, and their daughter, Anya (Hera Mishra). We do not understand why Sammit’s parents do not like Ira and Hera at all, even though they insult Ira for raising such a mannerless child in a family get-together. Anya, too, never gets a pinch of affection from her grandparents. Ira, however, never holds resentment toward her in-laws and instead decides to strive till they are satisfied. Ira is undeniably head over heels for Sammit, whom she met at her graduation. However, while celebrating Sammit’s birthday with her family, she is informed about the terrible murder of an elderly woman. The team discovers that the modus operandi of the murder eerily resembles Bala Banne (Zakir Husain), a psychopath who over seventeen years ago tortured and murdered seven innocent neighborhood women. As Bala committed suicide before the police came, hi’s son, Abhishek Banne, is the prime suspect in this recent murder.
Like his father, Abhishek never enjoyed a positive reputation in his community. Everyone claimed that he and his sister were the monster’s offspring, and they were harassed mercilessly. The police discover that Abhishek vanished following the unexplained killing of Sarangwadi’s village chief and is still missing. When everyone assumes Abhishek Banne is the one who returns after a long absence, Ira follows her gut and disproves their claims. Eventually, she and her team exonerate other suspects, including her gambling son. They painstakingly examine all the evidence, test results, and CCTV footage, and arrest the nurse (Tanuka Laghate) who comes to the lady for physiotherapy. She astounds everyone with her purpose for murder. She claimed that because of the many stairs she had to climb, her legs hurt, so she killed the elderly woman to avoid ever having to climb stairs ever again. She learned about Bala Banne’s methods through the well-liked crime reporter Vikas Sarode’s (Abhijeet Khandekar) vlogs. A few days later, the same tactics are used in another murder. Now everyone within and without the police force is certain that Abhishek Banne is the murderer, and the search has begun. Now, the question arises: Will Sammit suffer any consequences as a result of this hunt for Abhishek? What kind of connection do they maintain?
An Unfortunate Reunion: Does Vikas Know Abhishek?
The series gives us goosebumps when we witness Vikas Sarode, a well-known crime blogger and journalist, arrive to report a crime with a selfie stick and a mobile phone. We notice he is very popular among the general public for his crime vlogs. Inspector Ira wants to meet him and learn more about Bala Banne after hearing his explanation of an old case. Vikas comes to meet her but is utterly surprised to see a design scribbled on the pen in the office. We find that he is an old friend of Abhishek Banne as they live in the same neighborhood in Sarangwadi. In his early teens, he observed Abhishek drawing this pattern. He rushes to meet Inspector Ira’s husband and asks him about the design and the designer’s whereabouts after learning that this pen was made by him. But his destiny was not on his side. He finds his old acquaintance Abhishek in Sammit’s welding shop, even in the disguise of Ira’s husband, Sammit Patel. At that moment, he knew his excessive curiosity endangered his life.
After a number of cold and coiled conversations and heated struggles, Sammit knocks Vikas out and confines him to storage in his basement. Now we see how the ideal man, Sammit, changes into something entirely unimaginable. We also notice he watches instructional videos to let his emotions out. From this point forward, Sammit, the ideal man, is living a different life. He learns about Dheeraj, his former roommate, through Vikas’ phone and contacts him, pretending to be Vikas. Dheeraj fears Abhishek Banne because he believes Abhishek will exact retribution on him for their past arguments.
Dheeraj’s Death: A Bolt From The Blue
Unfortunately, Dheeraj is killed in his restaurant, and the CCTV tape reveals that Bala Banne’s precise technique of killing—using a fishing net to strangle the victim, a severe cut to the right ankle, and the disruption of both thumbnails—was accurately followed. Abhishek Banne is once again condemned by the world for this horrific crime, but to our total surprise, someone else—not Abhishek—is carrying out similar murders. Is there a new murderer in town? But why does he adopt Bala’s strategy?
In order to prevent any disruption of his new identity, Abhishek does not wish to maintain any evidence of his identity. He, therefore, threatens Vikas and enters his apartment to steal some old tapes from when they were teenagers. At the same time, detectives broke into Dheeraj’s phone and found an audio message he had sent to Vikas. In the process of looking for Vikash, the cops find his apartment. Abhishek succeeds in getting away, coaxing Vikas into helping, and persuades Ira that Vikas stopped by to see her when she was searching for his home.
Victor: The Copycat Killer
The show adds a fresh twist with the introduction of Victor, a cab driver in the final stages of cancer who goes insane when his wife Rosy vanishes. Despite rumors that his wife was one of Bala Banne’s victims, her corpse was never found. He was the cabbie who drove Dheeraj’s murderer to the eatery. When Inspector Nikhil (Srinivas Prasad Kiran) therefore summons him for questioning, he purposefully leaves his thermos flask with a hidden microphone inside to learn the location of the police regarding the search for Abhishek Banne. In order to cremate his wife’s body, he wants to catch Abhishek and find out where it is. He thinks Abhishek is his father’s collaborator. Abhishek’s information is unknown to the police, not even a picture. Ira suddenly discovers where his photograph will be found and heads toward Saranwadi. Abhishek is chased by his wife, Ira. During that haste, his watch—a gift from Ira—slips off his wrist. Ira eventually discovers it and is shocked. Later, Abhishek is kidnapped by Victor, who tries to drown him by tossing him into the sea, but Ira saves him. Abhishek informs Victor in the hospital that he never participated in his father’s crimes and has no idea where his wife’s body is. Ira ignores her persistent second thoughts about her husband throughout this time. Later, in the hospital, when Ira visited him, he hallucinated his sister Prachi and muttered that he wouldn’t survive as Abhishek Banne and that he wouldn’t let anything bad happen to his sister. She then realizes her spouse, Sammit Patel, is the most wanted Abhishek Banne.
Ira Knows The Truth: Trouble Arises
Ira is devastated after learning that her spouse is the person for whom her entire department is looking. She breaks the lock of his basement storeroom, examines it with alternative light sources, and discovers cleaned blood spots, which makes her even more upset. She recalls how the two of them first met and how Sammit attempted to open up to her about his past. but it was Ira who did not want to listen and promised him a brighter future. She takes Sammit to Banne’s torture room, shows him the sketches of Abhishek, and then gives him the mp3 player that contains the recording of his mother’s lullaby—all without ever explicitly telling him that she knows his secret.
Prachi (Barkha Bisht Sengupta), Abhishek’s older sister, eventually meets Vikas, who was once her teenage lover. She lived in Mumbai for many years, but just lost her work after her name was connected to the killings of his father and brother. She asks Vikas to refrain from airing untrue information about Abhishek because it was actually her who killed the village chief for assaulting her. She describes how Abhishek accepted full responsibility for the crime, fled, and never got in touch with her. Ira secretly follows Abhishek as he finally sees his sister after all these years. When he admits that he is unsure whether he truly loves Ira or not, she overhears their chat and bursts into tears.
Did Bala Banne Have A Partner In Crime?
Abhishek learned that his father had a company that supported him in his infamous murders. He remembers that Victor also made a similar comment. In his vlog, Vikas plays a garbled audio recording and claims it is the threat uttered to a nurse who witnessed Rosy’s kidnapping and filed a complaint. Abhishek tries to identify the voice.
Except for Vikas, no one else is aware that Abhishek is residing as Sammit Patel at this time. The new conundrum reveals that the Patel spouses are the biological parents of the actual Sammit Patel, who is in a coma and whose identity Abhishek is assuming. Specifically, Ira found that in the case of Bala Banno, the police had only obtained seven thumbnails, plucked from their nail beds. However, according to the Modus Operandi, there should be fourteen nails, or two nails, for each victim. That implies that if Bala only has the nails on one hand of each victim, then the accomplice needs to have the other half. The relationship between Anya and her grandparents eventually improves. Now, as the final twiddle, she discovers a box in her grandmother’s wardrobe that has seven colorful nails that have been pulled out of the thumbs. Therefore, Manohar Patel (Rajesh Khattar) was unquestionably hinted at as the right hand of Bala Banne. He most likely was the one who threatened the nurse, kidnapped Rosy, and handed Prachi the lucky charm made by Rosy. Last but not least, their kid, the real Sammit, awakens from coma at the conclusion, leaving an open ending to the audience.
Is Abhishek Banne Really A Serial Killer?
Abhishek Banne’s convoluted life story is depicted in “Duranga.” Although he never commits a murder, he is frequently suspected of doing so or helping his father do one. He and his sister were unaware of their father’s transgressions, but they were and continue to be labeled as “monster kids.” After the strange death of the village chief, he continues to flee his past. His father, friends, and other people treated him horribly in the past. After a confrontation with Dheeraj, fate eventually connects him with the Patels, who give him the identity of their son—again, for their own purposes. As a result, he murdered all of the emotions inside of him rather than taking any lives. We find that it is Victor who killed Dheeraj mimicking the method of Balla Banne. Abhishek always hallucinated a vision of his father provoking him to kill, but he never paid attention to the demonic whispers. Even though he felt protected once Ira entered his life, he never told Ira about his history out of concern that he wouldn’t believe it. So he simply chooses a life where he shows what his loved ones love to see. This is nothing but the saga of a complicated mind that was never that intricate before, but the years of trauma baked the cake. Abhishek undoubtedly has a second life, but he never seeks to carry on his father’s abhorrent legacy instead of the arts. According to his teacher, Abhishek’s eyes are like those of the hunted deer rather than the hunter’s. We observe Ira who believes her husband has clean hands. She struggles with her own conflicted emotions but sticks by her commitment to shield the person she loved rather than his past.
In this whole series, we observe Abhishek’s difficulties in expressing himself spontaneously. He doesn’t think he’s ever shown empathy. However, it was he who thrashed a classmate for touching his mp3 player, on which his mother’s voice had been recorded. It was he who assumed full responsibility for the muder of the village head in order to protect his sister who was the original murderer, or it was he who prepared delicious meals for his wife and daughter just to make them happy. So, he is never out of emotion. We observe Abhishek’s fear of escaping capture at Sarangwadi when he and Ira struggle after a protracted chase, yet he saves Ira from getting hurt. It appears that Abhishek was torn apart by his terrible tragedy and hid under Sammit Patel’s persona while the unhealed wound was still bleeding underneath.
Ira is presented as a powerful woman who is both physically and mentally healthy. She finds the human mind to be fascinating, and when it comes to solving a case, she trusts facts rather than wacky theories. She never worried about Sammit’s troubled background, so when she discovers a connection between the criminal and Sammit, she trusts her instincts and the available facts rather than casting doubt on her husband. On the other hand, the dubious Patel couples are always worried about their blurry secrets; in front of others, they did a fantastic job at playing Abhishek’s parents, but their murky internal conflict continues.
What to Expect From Season 2?
This season comes to an abrupt and unsettling end. As we can see, after Sammit Patel awakens from his coma, Abhishek’s identity will be in jeopardy. Additionally, given that Anya discovers the box containing ominous thumbnails, it is thought that Manohar Patel may be Bala Banne’s assistant. So, we feared that in the approaching season, a storm would come and destroy the lovely home of Abhishek and Ira. Abhishek is on the prowl to discover who threatened the nurse. There are also a lot of unresolved issues. Why was Rosy’s corpse never discovered? Who threatened Dheeraj over the phone? Who called Dheeraj and made threats? What actually motivated Sammit Patel’s family, and why did it happen to him? Is Mrs. Patel really to blame for her son’s present state of health? We anticipate finding all the answers in the upcoming season.
Duality and trickery are the foundation of “Duranga.” The protagonist, Gulshan Devaiah, who frequently experiments with a plethora of roles, effectively portrays the positive and evil sides of falsehood. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde come to mind as you watch his stunning performance. The filmmaker makes every effort to educate us about the various dimensions of human emotions, as well as trauma and its long-lasting effects. They depict an idyllic family life where the conventional roles are switched without going overboard. Another bombshell: a journalist with a selfie stick. The pertinent dialogic exchanges are also evaluable. Overall, they presented the acclaimed Korean drama in an intriguing and precise manner while dressed in Indian garb.
However, this thriller is missing several key components. First off, the Indian storyline is subpar compared to the original Korean series. Not every character is as amazing as the pivotal one. The police system is horribly portrayed because we witness the officers’ need to talk to a reporter about a case and give him updates on their next steps. Therefore, in “Duranga,” structural malformation and logical errors are inevitable. The quest of Abhishek Banne is also devoid of artistic freedom and spine-tingling adrenaline. When a new character is introduced each time, the situation becomes unnecessarily chaotic. Melodrama ends up being the sole tool available to meaninglessly twist a scenario. The couple’s connection occasionally displays an icy side, turning the suspense into a lifeless thriller. In essence, despite the protagonist’s excellent performance, the series lacks its soul and is full of deception. So feel free to give a slow-paced and zigzagging thriller/drama a go without having any much higher expectations.
“Duranga” is a 2022 Indian Drama Thriller series streaming on Zee5 with subtitles.