Revenge is a dish best served cold. This is the theme of the month as Karmma Calling, the official remake of the ABC show Revenge, hit Disney+ Hotstar. The original and the remake are all about a young woman’s quest to seek vengeance against the people who wronged her father and walked away unharmed. Karmma Calling is set in the quaint seaside town of Ali Baug in Mumbai, where the wealthiest of people reside and are private about their affairs. Soon Karmma begins exposing many close to the Kothari family. If you liked Karmma Calling or generally enjoy revenge dramas, here is a list of television shows you must check out.
House Of Cards
There is no better show in the revenge drama genre than the Netflix original, Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright starrer House of Cards. The show set a benchmark in the political revenge drama genre. Before you talk about it as a political drama, you have to recognize that it’s a revenge story at its core. Frank Underwood, a Democratic Congressman, was robbed of the post of Secretary of State, one of the most important seats in the US government after a candidate he supported became the new President of the country.
Garett Walker, the president-elect, promised to make him Secretary of State, but the man chose someone else in Frank’s stead. This betrayal did not sit well with the highly ambitious Frank Underwood and his equally cunning wife, Claire Underwood. Frank and Claire Underwood systematically and discreetly plan to sabotage Garett and his team of loyalists as a part of their revenge plan. As Frank Underwood and Claire were slowly winning, Frank was made Vice President and later President of the United States, with Garrett eventually stepping away.
If compared, Karmma Calling is not a political drama as it involves sabotaging the personal lives of people Karmma Talwar, aka Ambika Mehra, detests from the core of her being. She feels the need to get back at the people who robbed her of her childhood and a life of normalcy by framing her father, Satyajeet Mehra, on bogus charges. She targets people step by step instead of going after everyone at once to avoid being suspected, just like Frank Underwood in House of Cards. She made sure there was no trail left behind for her nemesis, Indrani, to track her down, just like Frank’s plan of action. Karmma/Ambika will not stop till her goal is achieved, and the first season of Karmma Calling is just the beginning of showcasing what the young woman is capable of.
Chamak has Sony LIV venturing back into the Punjabi heartland for the first time since Tabbar. The story of Chamak is loosely based on the lives of Amar Singh Chamkila and his wife Amarjot, a pair of famous singers who were killed by a group of assailants back in 1988. The makers of Chamak adapted this story to make it about Kaala, who ran away from Canada and reached India only to realize he was the son of the deceased famous singer Tara and his wife, Navjot Kaur. This piece of information jolted Kaala and made him hell-bent on seeking vengeance against those who murdered his parents in broad daylight, and his quest to find the culprit had just begun.
His desire for vengeance stems from the fact that either his parents were killed for being popular or there were some social constraints that his parents had crossed that did not gel with a conservative group in the state. Kaala wanted to find answers, and he would not stop at anything.
Kaala in Chamak wanted answers; Karmma or Ambika already had answers, and she was going against the people who’d wronged her father. Kaala, by the end of the first season, revealed his identity, while Karmma in Karmma Calling had only just come close to becoming a part of the Kothari family. There was a lot left in her plans to sabotage the family she was marrying into, and just like Kaala in Chamak, this was only the beginning of her quest.
The Night Manager
The Night Manager, one of the most popular British spy dramas starring Hugh Laurie, Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Debicki, and Olivia Coleman, was remade into a Hindi show of the same name with the same plot. The Hindi remake of The Night Manager was a Disney+ Hotstar special, just like Karmma Calling, a Hindi remake of the American show Revenge. The Hindi adaptation of The Night Manager, starring Anil Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur, Tilotima Shome, and Sobhita Dhulipala, was a good remake; it remained true to the original screenplay and boasted some stellar performances. Meanwhile, Karmma Calling was tacky and melodramatic, just like the original show, and there were hardly any memorable performances.
Both have one common thread, which would be the revenge angle. In both the Hindi adaptation and the original show, the lead actor was after a most wanted arms dealer for his killing of an innocent woman. The death of this person haunted the lead male character (Jonathan Pine in the British show, while Shaan Sengupta in the Hindi remake) to the point where he agreed to work for his country’s intelligence and offer information on the arms dealer (Richard Roper in the British show, and Shailendra Rungta in the Hindi remake) by becoming a part of his inner circle.
The revenge saga ended with the arms dealer being taken away by the armed group with whom his business deal fell through, and this was justice served, according to The Night Manager. Karmma/Ambika in Karmma Calling had just put her plan into action to sabotage Indrani and her husband. By the end of the first season, there was a lot to uncover, especially in terms of the Cold War between Karmma and Indrani. The powerful socialite was yet to find out the real identity of the woman who was marrying her son, and the ultimate revenge was far from over.
Aarya, created and directed by Ram Madhvani, has become the flagship show of Disney+. Aarya was all about Aarya Sareen, who was on a quest to find out who killed her husband and what motive they had for doing so. This revenge thriller drama led to Aarya finding out uncomfortable truths about her family and the involvement of her father in her husband’s death in season one. Her father, a royal and a patriarch, was also responsible for the death of her brother Sangram Singh, which left her with no choice but to abandon her father as an act of revenge, even at the advent of his cancer diagnosis.
In the third season, Sooraj Raizada wanted to find out why Aarya killed Nandini, and he was seeking the mortal remains of his deceased wife. In the process, he had hoped to kill Aarya and her best friend, Maya. Though Sooraj and Aarya had reached a truce, the former was killed by Aarya’s oldest kid, Veer, for Sooraj’s role in murdering his pregnant girlfriend, Roop. Sooraj’s revenge saga ended abruptly, while Aarya was left to pick up the pieces of the crime committed by her son.
The titular character in Karmma Calling has so far committed no crime because she would not want anything that could be traced back to her. Her only plan of action was to destroy people emotionally and financially and dethrone most of them from the pedestals they put themselves on. The only victim of the back-and-forth between Indrani and the very discreet Karmma was Dolly. She went into a coma after Indrani’s bodyguard attempted to kill her. These actions could have repercussions that would destroy Indrani and eventually Karmma and Ambika as well. Both Karmma Calling and Aarya are Disney+ Hotstar specials that were remakes of shows from the West.
Fake Profile is a convoluted Colombian Netflix original that has a telenovela style of storytelling. The show is about the life of a stripper from Las Vegas, Camila Roman, who was wronged by a man who visited the city and promised to marry her. Camilla received a rude shock when she learned her lover, Dr. Fernando Costello, who posed as a plastic surgeon, was Miguel Estevez, married to a rich heiress, Angela Ferrer. This led to the formulation of a plan to exact revenge on Miguel for not being honest with her. She chose to live next to Miguel and his wife, Angela, to understand the family dynamics and find ways to seduce the man into submission.
This revenge saga was a mix of tackiness and stretched storytelling, which slowly became a tale of love, passion, and people trying to save their families. There was a male figure in the form of Angela Ferrer’s father, Pedro, a multimillionaire who wanted to control the lives of his children by making sure they were with the right partner. This led to some painful discoveries and the death of the patriarch at the hands of Angela.
Karmma Calling had a revenge angle, as the young woman named Karmma/Ambika was keen to destroy the people who were responsible for wrecking her father and her life. In Karmma Calling, matriarch Indrani Kothari was the controlling figure who wants to be the queen of the social circle in Ali Baug. She tries to control the lives of her children, Ahan and Meera, as well. She has a hard time with Meera, but she has no qualms about deciding her son’s future. She was responsible for Ahan’s first breakup, and she tried to do the same when Ahan began dating Karmma. Her son chose to keep his life with his current girlfriend away from his mother for the above-stated reasons. Indrani had doubts about what Karmma was like, but eventually, she could not stop both from falling in love.
Yellowstone is the story of the Dutton family, who are the owners of one of the largest ranches in America. They are legacy-based property owners who would pick a fight with anyone who would try to arm-twist them into selling off their property. The Dutton family often suffers from infighting, which sometimes leads to public spats as well. In the second season of the show, the Beck brothers acted as bullies and tried to create a rift between the Duttons and Thomas Rainwater. Malcolm and Teal Beck also tried to force these powerful people into following their roadmap and plans for Montana. When that did not work, the Beck brothers brutally assaulted Beth Dutton and killed Thomas Rainwater’s partner in the upcoming casino, Dan Jenkins. The Beck brothers went one step further and abducted Dutton’s grandson, Tate.
The Dutton family, along with Thomas Rainwater, took their revenge by eliminating the Beck brothers. This was followed by a market equities firm trying to force John Dutton and his family to sell their ranch to build an airport and other commercial spaces. When that did not happen, there was again a brutal attack on Beth, John, and Casey Dutton. The fourth season was dedicated to Beth finding out who tried to eliminate her family, and she suspected her brother Jamie and his biological father, Garrett Randall. To exact revenge on Garrett and regain the trust of his real family, Jaime killed his biological father.
Karmma Calling, on the other hand, is not a revenge saga yet because the show is only one season old. The theme of this show, which is ruled by two women trying to one-up each other, is revenge. There is an air of distrust with Karmma’s entry into Indrani’s life, which is like Beth Dutton’s attitude toward her brother Jamie as well as any new person encountering her family. Beth Dutton is the woman everyone is worried about in Yellowstone, while something similar could be said about Indrani as well in Karmma Calling. Fierce women seeking revenge and trying to protect the people they love are also the underlying themes of both shows.
Choona was one of the unexpectedly good satirical heist comedies from Netflix India set in the heartland of Uttar Pradesh. Avinash Shukla, who wants to become the next chief minister of the state, has made a few enemies. The only way for them to exact revenge is to steal the bribe he received from a businessman, as he won’t ever be able to report the crime. All of them have been severely insulted, destroyed, physically hurt, and financially handicapped by Avinash Shukla, and stealing the black money would cause a dent in his ambitious political career. They wanted to witness his fall, which led to the formation of a solid game plan. They wanted to use the money judiciously without attracting the attention of Avinash or his people. There could be a revenge angle in the second season if Avinash learns about the people who were responsible for the end of his political career.
While Choona was a comedy, Karmma Calling was an unintentional comedy because of the bad execution of the source material. Even though Karmma Calling is a serious drama, the performances and the storytelling were a letdown. The only common factor between both shows would be the revenge theme and how the makers chose to explore that idea. Choona was a satire and exposed the real face of politicians and their loyalists, while Karmma Calling could not keep the genre steady as there were many cliched plot points and the makers expected the viewers to take it seriously. Karmma/Ambika’s quest to destroy Indrani and her husband Kaushal was strong, but the anger did not translate well onto the screen.