200 Minutes of Afsos
50%Overall Score

THE UPSHOT
Anubhuti Kashyap’s dark comedy on death is only sporadically entertaining and offers little insight.

Director: Anubhuti Kashyap
Writers: Dibya Chatterjee, Anirban Dasgupta, Sourav Ghosh
Cast: Gulshan Devaiah, Heeba Shah, Aakash Dahiya, Anjali Patil, Ratnabali Bhattacharjee, Jamie Alter, Shyam Bhimsaria
Streaming on: Amazon Prime

The main man is a loser to beat all losers

Amazon Prime’s second original of the year after The Forgotten Army is a dark comedy based on Bengali writer Kalponik Bandopadhyay’s novel Golper Goru Chaande. It’s meant to be a lighthearted meditation on death and the desire for immortality. But it’s not funny enough, nor does it have much philosophical weight.

In the show, Gulshan Devaiah plays Nakul, a man who desperately wants to die as he’s lonely and his writing career is going nowhere. After multiple failed attempts at suicide, Devaiah hires Emergency Exit, a killing agency run by Maria (Ratnabali Bhattacharjee) and Vikram (Ujjwal Chopra). Upadhyay (Heeba Shah), the agency’s best hitman, is assigned to execute Nakul.

Gulshan Deviah is fantastic as a failure…

While the show doesn’t live up to the promise of its story, Deviah is a treat to watch. He shows his impressive range as an actor as he works his way through the shades of his character, from an out-of-work writer drowning in depression to a man hanging on to a branch of hope for dear life.

Hope comes in the form of Nakul’s therapist Shloka (Anjali Patil), who shows a romantic interest in him. So he changes his mind about dying. The only problem is that once Upadhyay is given a job, she completes it, no matter what. Nakul now spends most of his time dodging Upadhyay. His life is complicated by several characters. There’s Fokatiya, a sage from Uttarakhand, who arrives bearing an elixir that makes its drinker immortal. However, it has to be administered by an immortal man. Fokatiya has come in search of such a man. Fokatiya is, in turn, being chased by cop, who believes the man is responsible for the deaths of a number of gurus in Uttarakhand.

…but he’s not enough reason to watch the show

The show tackles the well-worn trope of man’s obsession with immortality. Some are greedy for it but is life really worth living forever? The only thing that’s worth living for is love. And that’s a fleeting thing. These ideas are playfully dealt with, but the show isn’t funny or deep enough. At the end of it, everyone is left with some form of regret, even cold-blooded Upadhyay. And the viewer, for giving Afsos over three hours of her time.