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‘Rudra’ Review: A Well-Crafted Thriller That Shows Ajay Devgn in a Fresh Avatar
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‘Rudra’ Review: A Well-Crafted Thriller That Shows Ajay Devgn in a Fresh Avatar

'Rudra: The Edge of Darkness' released on Disney+ Hotstar on 4 March.

Updated
Movie Reviews
5 min read

Rudra: The Edge of Darkness

‘Rudra’ Review: A Well-Crafted Thriller That Shows Ajay Devgn in a Fresh Avatar

A good old cop drama starring Ajay Devgn, seems a natural move for any OTT. The big screen’s favourite policeman is different here, no longer the hero of Rohit Shetty movies but a more humanised trope we see across Hollywood, a pained cop of tough exterior and soft interior, with a beautiful ex-wife and a dark past.

Ajay Devgn as Rudra in a still from Rudra: The Edge of Darkness.

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He is the man of all men, don’t we know these Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio types? Rudra is a darker Castle, as sanitised and clean perhaps leaning more towards Criminal Minds, where things do always end happily but the darkness lurks and each episode is a story of its own. Criminal UK like tension is created and the execution is equally good, crisp and high end.

For those who love classic cat mouse stories with lots of baggage from the past simmering just underneath the surface, this show is for you. It is no surprise that this show is inspired from the hit British show Luther.

The screenplay is very economic and the dialogues are performative, present and good fun. The dialoguebazi draws attention to itself but in the most positive way possible. The story itself is written keeping in mind well-known, well-loved tropes and archetypes and doesn’t experiment in that space but for those who are not very familiar with global productions of cop dramas, this maybe something fresher and it definitely is a fresher police avatar for Ajay Devgan, who hasn’t played something quite like this in a long time.

Ajay Devgn in a still from Rudra.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

The way the characters are introduced and the way they are established is a treat. In those scenes, there is so much to read between the lines and when a viewing demands you to do so, that is when things become more enjoyable. The story also is clearly educated and well crafted.

There is an obvious depth of research here because the Freudian theories at play, while hints of psychopathic, sociopathic, borderline personality disorder, depression and anxiety are also infused within the far from perfect ensemble of characters. There are also games of Russian roulette, the manic pixie syndrome, the aerial shots of cities like Mumbai (so reminiscent of Batman and the terror hiding behind those skyscrapers) and more.

Rudra tells the story of, well, DCP Rudra, a hardworking and the man for the job and his past and his present. With a team that is dedicated and unfairly even targeted, he is their saviour, he always knows which building will blow up and which murderer will be triggered and by what but Rudra has his own secrets.

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He did a few things that hang over his head, a few lives lost he can’t account for and bring problematic women into his life and also, his marriage has fallen apart because as his ex-wife says, he is a man who understands love but not relationships.

Esha Deol in a still from Rudra.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

How will Rudra deal with and move past his own secrets and history all the while protecting a crime riddled Mumbai where things, murders, thieving, debauchery happen at the speed of light? Rudra is the kind of character who you wish was your friend, protector and maybe even personal bodyguard because in his presence you will feel safe.

Special mention for the direction, cinematography and editing of this show. The frames are conscious and well created, like carefully painted portraits. They are not lazy and by the way.

The lighting creates texture and atmosphere very well and the edit is seamless of course though, there are moments when the story seems convenient but that is the way this genre goes- things absolutely have to end at least halfway happily ever after so one can hold onto realism but also, let go of it just a little and enjoy what is fiction after all. In each episode, there is a pressing issue which is resolved at the end and there remain and loom larger questions and a larger story which stitches itself throughout the season.

Ajay Devgn and Raashi Khanna have impeccable chemistry and to see Esha Deol back on screen after years is still underwhelming though Atul Kulkarni and Ashwini Kalsekar as consistent and constant supporting cast members are as always good.

Ajay Devgn and Raashi Khanna in a still from Rudra.

(Photo Courtesy: YouTube)

For those who are familiar with Luther, they already have a few spoilers and an idea of what is to come but for those who aren’t, be prepared for an atmospheric, Gotham city like crime drama which is deeply psychological and entertaining both.

Rudra is a breath of fresh air and yet, familiar and dramatic and makes me excited to see more of Ajay Devgn in web shows, challenging himself to do things outside his comfort zone.

A comedy next would be what I would love to see him in (Golmaal is and will always be hilarious).

Keeping in mind the grim situation and reality of what Russia is doing to Ukraine, a show like this also feels heavier to watch than it should but at least here, you can step back and remember none of it is real and is nothing but a very convincing web show. A man like Rudra, we need him to step in and sort this mess out but alas, fiction remain fiction. I think I’m going to plant some sunflower seeds in my garden this week.

Rudra is produced by Applause Entertainment and is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

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