Director: Sujoy Ghosh
Writers: Sujoy Ghosh, Suresh Nair, Raj Vasant
Cast: Purab Kohli, Palomi Ghosh, Samir Kochar, Aarna Sharma, Aaryansh Malviya, Palash Kamble, Mikhail Gandhi, Masood Akhtar.
Seasons: 1 (2019)
Sujoy Ghosh’s show is a cross between the staple unsuspecting-family-moves-into-a-haunted-mansion template and a Stranger Things style club of creature-chasing kids. These are evergreen formats. The possessed house plays on the deep-seated human fear of being trapped with spirits. Children investigating paranormal activities appeals to our fondness for childhood adventures. However, Typewriter uses these tropes to tell a hackneyed story that, to use an annoying cliche, fails to send shivers down your spine.
Set in the quaint district of Bardez in Goa, Typewriter spans five episodes. The pilot begins in the 1980s when Madhav Matthews (Kanwaljit Singh), a prolific ghost story writer is found dead in his house, Bardez Villa.
Jenny, Madhav’s granddaughter, returns to her childhood home decades later with her husband Peter (Samir Kochar) and children Anya (Sara Gesawat) and Nick (Aaryansh Malviya). Jenny has forgotten Bardez Villa’s occult past but the locals remember.
Nick joins The Ghost Club, whose members – Sam (Aarna Sharma), Gablu (Mikhail Gandhi) and Bunty (Palash Kamble) – occasionally skip school to read The Ghost of Sultanpore by Madhav Matthews and discuss paranormal matters.
The mansion’s nefarious past comes to light after the police and Sam independently probe three successive murders that are somehow linked to the mansion and Jenny. In the course of her sleuthing, Sam figures out that a typewriter in the Matthews home is the source of various spooky events. It emerges that Madhav’s typewriter is believed to have Fakeer, an evil spirit tethered to it.
The show has various tired horror movie elements: a shape-shifting entity, the wait for the blood moon to resuscitate an evil spirit, the clickety-clack of the typewriter at late hours, nightmares.
Elli Avram’s guest appearance as Peter’s temptress, Sam’s pursuit to meet her deceased mother and Fakeer’s childhood story seems irrelevant to the plot giving it loose ends and adding to the show’s run time. Perhaps these stories are paving the way for the second season, in which case, they could’ve been executed better.
Those who’ve grown up reading Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five novels and RL Stine’s Goosebumps series might feel a pang of nostalgia. But it’s hardly enough to elevate Typewriter.
There’s not much going for Typewriter aside from a few scary moments and a handful of quality performances. Palomi Ghosh does an able job of playing both the evil spirit that assumes her identity and a confused, heartbroken woman facing her past. Purab Kohli exudes warmth as Sam’s father, a single parent, while Abhishek Banerjee skillfully plays the diabolical Fakeer dubbed by the locals as the Soul Collector.