Hasmukh? More like Hasmat. This dark comedy show was one of the most awaited performances by known comedian, Vir Das. After seeing the trailer, the premise was engaging. But we could learn how to screw up a really good premise from the show. This mini-series was one of those shows where the idea might seem great, but the execution is faulty.
The story revolves around Hasmukh ( Vir Das), who is from a small place in UP, Saharanpur. With ambitions to become a big-time comedian, he trains under a known comedian Gulati ( Manoj Pahwa ). With great writing skills, Hasmukh lacks the performance persona. Oh, and he kills Gulati. In Shorey’s words: Hasmukh finds his Viagra Killing. He only kills people who are guilty, and then gets away with the crime. Not a very original concept and seemed more inspired by the American crime show Dexter. Soon, he is approached by a comedy reality TV show: Comedy Baashaho. The scene shifts to Mumbai, where Comedy Baadshaho is a stereotypical entertainment channel with a sleazy producer, played by Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishen. Hasmukh is the wild card entry and kills it in his first performance. The narrative progresses as Hasmukh finds new people to kill to fuel his performance drive.
Thoughts If You Actually Make it to The End of the Show
1. The Jokes
The problem with the show is its jokes. Vir das, who did great comedy specials on Netflix, completely took a 360-degree turn. They were flat, did not deliver and, honestly, very Boomer in taste. With the typical husband- wife jokes, where the wife is dominating in the marriage, the level of comedy is strongly disappointing.
2. Too Stereotypical
The whole show was strongly built on stereotypes which just got annoying. Hasmukh was orphaned as a kid and lived with his evil relatives. Abusive uncle and horny aunty who kept molesting him. The women in the small town are all basically Savita bhabhis. Corrupt politicians have the local police in their pockets. Entertainment channels are ridden with bad writers, sleazy producers, assistants with deep-cut blouses ready to sleep with their boss to get ahead. Overly suspicious wife who tries to catch her husband in an affair. The typical foreigner who falls for the poor and timid Hasmukh. Actors have alcohol and drug problem who keep molesting their female staff. Overly hyped Krushna Kumar with no real talent and original writing. Big time underworld dons keep threatening people for money. It looks like it’s fresh out of an Ekta Kapoor serial. The whole idea of “Bambai mein Bambu” seemed very cliched–the big city where everything looks great from outside, but people are flawed and emotionless from inside.
3. Damn Predictable
Ignoring the bad jokes, the plot had so much potential. The story gets more predictable as it progresses. Hasmukh becomes a viral sensation after his performance at a politician’s house. Predictable that he is picked up by the show he always dreamed to be on and kills it every time. His murders too are predictable at a point and seem like people are conveniently placed, and waiting to be killed. I get that this reality comedy television show was a dig on the reality comedy shows we see on TV, but I was constantly waiting for something around the corner to shock me, which never came. The whole show gave me a very Gully Boy feel. But it looks like this Gully boy should have stayed in his gully only.
Why I Hit the Next Episode Button
Having said that, the story progresses enough to press the ‘next episode’ button. The narrative has a dramatic graph and meets its conclusion well. The shift between comedy to a blood lust killer is portrayed well by Vir Das. Hasmukh’s character development is commendable, especially how we see a massive shift in his confidence without losing its core traits. We understand the psyche of the character rooting from his dark and traumatic past. The police-chor ratrace keeps you going. Hasmukh brushes on the reality of what one can do to achieve their ambition. Actors like Imaanulhaq, Ranvir Shorey, and Vir Das himself, gave riveting performances. The concept is bold, different and riveting to begin with. This show has drama, comedy, thrill, blackmails, scandals, crime and romance. Basically, it’s entertaining AF.
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