‘Kohraa’, a very anticipated web series which was officially announced by Netflix media press release in May 2023 finally hit the screen on 15 July 2023 and it has already raved the audience. ‘Kohraa is an unapologetic and hard-hitting murder mystery which will keep your eyes gripped to the screen. The stellar screenplay sinks you in while not being shy, discussing about some social issues of Punjabi society.
It is a must-watch for you if you are into dark mystery. You won’t be possible to leave watching the series in between, and you will end up binge-watching it. It’s a delight to see the “chocolate boy” of television industry, Barun Sobti who rose to popularity after the ‘Asur series’ in such a strong and bold character. Each and every actor’s performance is phenomenal. Audience is hooked to the series. It is truly praiseworthy that just how in only 6 episodes the series has so many elements to offer. The series is absolute awesomeness and raw and real entertainment.
One viewer tweeted “Yesterday watched #Kohraa on Netflix. Boom it’s so well-crafted series. Patriarchal mess and vulnerable human values. Silent chaos and then police -& politics famous amalgamation. However, end could have been more surprising, but the journey to reach climax is beautiful.”
Star Cast: Barun Sobti, Harleen Sethi, Varun Badola, Manish Chaudhari, Suvinder Vicky
Director: Randeep Jha
Platform to watch: Netflix
Episodes: 6 for approximately 50 minutes
Table of Contents
Sudip Sharma is the creator and Randeep Jha has directed the Indian crime thriller streaming web series Kohrra, which premiered on Netflix in 2023. Barun Sobti, Harleen Sethi, Suvinder Vicky, Saurav Khurana, Rachel Shelley, and Manish Chaudhary are the main characters in the series. Balbir Singh and Amarpal Garundi, two Punjab police officers, investigate the death of a young NRI who had travelled back to the country to get married and was found dead on the day of his wedding. Deception, dark secrets, and drama about dysfunctional family dynamics emerge throughout the series as the story progresses.
In the Indian entertainment industry when there are so many cop dramas and crime thrillers what is it about Kohraa that makes it different? The very gripping web series Kohrra by Randeep Jha will give you the answer to this question. And this is because this series does more than just to tell a crime story about two police officers trying to solve different cases that are deeply intertwined.
To be honest, the series might have much difference compared to other such series. Set in the background of Punjab the series has made a prominent effort to highlight the various aspects of Punjabi society such as the consumption of drugs, migration and consumerism etc. The characters along with fighting the system can be seen fighting their inner darkness.
Gunjit Chopra and Diggy Sisodia have done impressive work, they have flawlessly sorted through each layer of each and every single character and analysed their chaos and different feelings and emotions and made them look genuine, motivating, powerless, unwanted and imperfect, at the same time. Each character deserves appreciation.
The cinematography is exciting and never slows down. Although it may appear as though there are too many subplots and subtexts unravelling almost simultaneously, this only serves to enhance the narrative’s grip. There is complete justice given to each track. The story touches on topics like queer relationships and extramarital affairs. The screenplay is splendid and makes it worthy of watching.
The story, set in the small town of Punjab Jagrana begins with Paul, an NRI groom, who dies mysteriously just before his big day. Liam, his best friend, goes missing as well. As a result, Balbir Singh, a senior officer, and Amarpal Garundi, a junior officer, begin their investigation. However, Paul’s fiancée Veera, her ex-boyfriend Sakaal, Paul’s cousin, and a truck driver are just a few of the hidden mysteries.
The story also focuses on the existence of the daughter of Balbir, Nimrat played by Harleen Sethi, who with her son has returned back to her home after being stuck in a troubled and unhappy marriage for quite a long time. Balbir and Amarpal are at a crossroads as they try to solve the murder mystery and deal with the difficulties in their personal lives at the same time.
Script, Direction & Technical Aspects
The best thing about “Kohrra” is that exceptionally talented writers such as Gunjit Chopra, Sudip Sharma, and Diggi Sisodia wrote the series. It’s worth watching for the nuances they’ve managed to incorporate into the plot. The development of the characters has been done in a mature way. All the characters whether they have small or large screen time are given a profound foundation and have their very own layers of story with their personal baggage. The show’s strengths lie in the suspense generated by each character’s intrigue, which keeps you hooked until the very end.
The writing is elevated to a completely new level by Randeep Jha’s direction. It is brilliant how he has demonstrated that each character has their own emotional baggage and deals with their own complexities in their own unique way. At first, it might seem like just another murder mystery, but over time, the realization hits that it’s much more than that. It is simply amazing how Randeep Jha has peeled back layer after layer. Everything, from patriarchy to childhood trauma of characters, has been given prominent importance. By the time one reaches the climax, it is very difficult to guess the culprit and one will surely willingly submit themselves to this series after beginning to watch it.
Kohrra is a good choice because of how well it has been edited too. Despite numerous still shots and slow-motion sequences, it rarely suffers from a lack of quality. They only add a significant layer to the process of establishing the characters, their disorganized lives, and the problems they face. The narrative also relies heavily on intimacy, but it is never used to attract attention. It is a pivotal tool that gives the storyline character and the required flow.
Cinematographer Saurabh Monga deserves praise for successfully capturing the essence of Punjab’s heartland. The cinematography is so realistic that one feels that they are a part of the chaos of the story. The series is a real hit because of that and the writing. The characters might make you think badly of them, but by the end, you feel their pain and brings out a soft corner in your heart for them.
The entire cast has done an extraordinary job with their so detailed performances. They have lived their characters with so much dedication. Over the course of his career, Barun Sobti has acquired the nickname “chocolate boy next door.” He delves into the unknown in Kohrra, and his performance as Amarpal Garundi clearly shows that he pushes the boundaries of his comfort zone. Amarpal is a trustworthy, diligent police officer who is also looking for love and has been caught in an unusual sexual relationship. Barun proves to be a risk-taker by surprising and shocking the audience. He manages to get under the character of a Punjabi boy and quite impressively comprehends the character’s complexities.
Suvinder Vicky has stood out with his portrayal of Balbir Singh. He might not be the most liked character but he manages to move the audience with his earnestness and struggle to deal with emotional challenges. By the end, you feel sorry for him because he is a victim of the system and a broken father trying to do the right thing.
Nimrat’s character is written and portrayed with utmost detail. In Kohraa, Harleen Sethi gives her best performance to date. Though she does not have much screen time she still illuminates the story with her screen presence. Like an expert, she masters even the intense scenes. In spite of all odds, Nimrat wants to make her own place in society. Her character resonates with the audience.
Actors like Manish Chaudhary, Varun Badola and Rachel Shelly were totally wasted in such small characters. They definitely gave their best performance but there is no background story of their own which would have given significant importance to their characters. But they have still managed to grab the attention of the viewers and completely nailed their performances.
Kohrra has a mood and vibes of gloominess, darkness and grey that is true to its title and reflects the confused state of mind of its characters. Cinematographer. Kohrra is, at its core, about making heartfelt decisions that are difficult and risky. Here, everything seems good or acceptable and nothing is dark or white, however, everything revolves around the greys. The series ends with a satisfactory conclusion which leaves the audience with relief.
Reasons not to watch
While personally, I don’t have any reasons not to watch the series but still, there are 2 reasons one has to consider before watching the series
Dark and Gritty Tone: The series has a mood and vibe of gloominess and darkness which might not be preferred by everyone so make yourself ready before engaging in this series.
Intense Theme and Subject Matters: The series deals with sensitive topics such as drug consumerism and such topics might be triggering for some so one has to be mentally prepared to watch it.