Digital review: ‘Black Widows’ (ZEE5)

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When three married women become widows after they kill their husbands in what they set up something that would look like an accident, anyone would be interested to see what their motives were and how they manage to convince the police that they are innocent.

ZEE5’s newest web-series promises not only an interesting plot but also a stellar cast, with the three widows being played by Mona Singh, Shamita Shetty and Swastika Mukherjee. However, whether the 12-episode series really lives upto the hype is something you discover as the series plot is unravelled.

Radhika Anand has written the series, and she is known for her other work. It’s obvious from the get-go that the series is gripping and trying to also bring in some humour at the same time. This is no mean feat when you’re trying to keep the audiences engaged and also throwing in some lighter moments to break up the storyline a little from perhaps being too heavy. These are slightly the places where ‘Black Widows’ as a whole falls short. Birsa Dasgupta’s direction rescues many a confusing part of the plot with dainty cottages and grand backdrops at almost every point, somewhat elevating the story. The characters are also mostly very well portrayed in terms of direction.

The performances are applauseworthy by all the cast; the three main actresses play very different characters who come together for the underlying theme of marriages that they are ultimately not happy in. Mukherjee plays a woman who suffers from domestic abuse and this gives her a little edge which the others simply cannot have. She plays the character of Jayati with much conviction and her chemistry with police officer Pankaj, played by Parambrata Chattopadhyay, is particularly endearing. Singh plays Veera, who is arguably the one with the weakest reason for killing her husband, and she fits into the character well. The only thing is that because it’s not very convincing reasoning, it all comes across a little fake – so to speak – until the plot changes to make a little more sense for her character. Shetty’s performance as Kavita is the one that the viewers may find the most grey – this is not because it’s one of those negatively shaded ones either. Kavita goes from one extreme to the other – most of the time showing much childishness but other times being very mature and finding strength in her own decisions. It’s quite hard to keep up with as a viewer even though Shetty seems to make it look so easy. The other members of the cast, including Chattopadhyay, are pretty decent. The best of the bunch were Sharad Kelkar who plays Veera’s husband, Aamir Ali who comes in as Veera’s love interest Eddie, and Raima Sen who comes in as the glamorous businesswoman.

To conclude, this is a decent and gripping show with one stand-out-like-a-sore-thumb aspect which you’re simply unable to let go of – the awful comedy. Most of it doesn’t fit very well with the pace of the show and this is a setback which lets the overall show down. For 12 episodes, however, you do not lose interest and manage to find yourself not being able to find the plot predictable which is a plus point. There’s also a lot to be said about woman power in ‘Black Widows’ which is rare to see in so many other shows.

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