‘Tharagathi Gadhi Daati’, a web series streaming on Aha, is a romantic drama. In this section, we are going to review the latest web series.
Krishna (Harshith Reddy) and his crush Jasmine (Payal Radhakrishna) are studying Intermediate, with the latter attending the Maths tuition classes under the former’s strict father. A gaffe committed by Ravi (Nikhil Devadula), a close friend of Krishna, lands him in trouble. Jasmine, meanwhile, has mixed feelings for Krishna. In a parallel track, Ravi is in love with Madhu (Snehal Kamat), who is fond of volleyball.
Teen romances are not easy because you can’t find able performers who can look the part. The casting choices made by the director of this web series are remarkable.
Harshith and Payal are superb, although the female lead does look a bit older than her age. The former has the gentle vibes of a Sekhar Kammula hero. Nikhil Devadula, a familiar face, is another good performer. Snehal Kamat, who has acted in a number of short films, is natural.
Raman Bhargav plays the father’s role with dignity. As a Maths teacher who sets a high standard for his son, he is quite good.
Naren RK Siddartha’s background music is soft and unassuming. However, he submits to the director’s vision of embellishing the scenes with a classic of AR Rahman and a song composed by Maestro Ilayaraja. This is unoriginal. Monish Bhupathiraju’s cinematography is neat. It’s commendable that the visuals rise above the accepted standards of a Telugu-language web series.
Aha bought the remake rights of ‘FLAMES’ (Hindi) from The Viral Fever and remade it as ‘Tharagathi Gadhi Daati’. In a way, it was inevitable. Most of the writers of Telugu short films and web series have been repeating themselves. They are struggling to go beyond cliched tropes and writing. The Hindi-language web content is way ahead.
Director Mallik Ram understands the material and nativises ‘FLAMES’ by setting up the story in the backdrop of Rajahmundry. The classroom, where a lot of scenes unfold, looks natural. As the story moves out of the classroom (something the title indicates), we meet the roadside seller of bajjis, the beach, the secret hide-out, and more.
The series is not obsessed with the Krishna-Jasmine track alone. The Ravi-Madhu track has a life of its own. The narrator using the analogy of Mathematics (‘Transformation of Axis’, etc) to explain the incidents in the lives of the lead pair is novel. The father-son equations have an arc of their own.
A problem is that the five-episode series is too short. At about 110 minutes, it’s shorter than a regular feature film. The conflict plot point is resolved just like that. Since Jasmine comes across as a dreamgirl and someone can’t get angry beyond 20 seconds, the climax can be seen coming. (Caution: If you have the habit of jumping to the climax before watching the web series sequentially, please avoid it for this particular web series at least.).
The first three episodes sustain interest, but the last two episodes are vacuous. The climax carries no excitement and feels like a dull romance.
‘Tharagathi Gadhi Daati’ has fine performances, neat cinematography and commendable music. The storyline is weak, and the last two episodes are feeble. This wouldn’t have worked as a movie. As a web series, it works.