One thing that makes fiction and nonfiction believable is immaculate writing. Be it Platform 9¾ or Tom Hanks getting stranded on an island – intelligent script writing transports us to the world the director wants us to see. However, if the script has questionable rationale, the story falls flat & unfortunately, Hasmukh shares the same fate.
Hasmukh is an Indian dark comedy TV series following the life of an introvert Hasmukh Sudiya (Vir Das), an aspiring stand-up comedian who is an understudy to one of the city’s notable comedians Gulati (Manoj Pahwa). After waiting for ten years in the wings, Hasmukh finally gets an opportunity to perform on stage, but not before adopting a sinister ritual that helps him transform his stage fright into a confident performer. The story is explored further when Hasmukh along with his manager Jimmy (Ranvir Shorey) make their way to Mumbai after being scouted by a national reality show that showcases India’s top comedians.
Vir Das is not like any other actor in Bollywood. All his films and stand-ups are known to be unique and bold, and it is fair to say that this concept does seem to be one-of-a-kind. After his two comedy specials, Das has returned to Netflix with a strong concept yet weak storyline, where he plays the role of a shy stand-up comedian. It is ironic that despite being such a strong stage performer in real life, he has delivered a subpar performance while playing ‘an upcoming’ stand-up comedian. On the contrary, Ranvir Shorey has given a strong performance as a tacky loud-mouthed manager who is Das’ partner-in-crime. This series also marks the return of Raza Murad on small screen and has Ravi Kishan in a supporting role.
If one could judge Hasmukh objectively on its concept, I would say it is a breath of fresh air. However, when you add weak dialogues, questionable writing, and dull production design, Hasmukh becomes yet another weak series produced by Netflix.
Whether or not Hasmukh gets a greenlight for renewal, one thing’s for sure. Netflix will have to do a better job in calibrating strong concepts with quality technicians if it doesn’t want to lose its audience in today’s ‘buffet’ of content.
Reviewed by Puneet Ruparel