'Rudra - The Edge of Darkness': Engaging but pretentiously intense

'Rudra - The Edge of Darkness': Engaging but pretentiously intense

Series: 'Rudra - The Edge of Darkness' (Streaming on Disney+ Hotstar)

Series: 'Rudra - The Edge of Darkness' (Streaming on Disney+ Hotstar)

Duration: Approximately 55 minutes per episode (Six episodes in all)

Director: Rajesh Mapuskar

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Esha Deol Takhtani, Raashii Khanna, Satyadeep Misra, Ashwini Kalsekar, Atul Kulkarni, Milind Gunaji and Rajiv Kachroo.

With an exhausted and worn-out premise -- a bright but emotionally troubled police officer hunting hardened criminals, 'Rudra -- The Edge of Darkness', which is an adaptation of the British TV show 'Luther', is pretentiously intense.

Designed as a psychological thriller, Ajay Devgn's ACP Rudraveer Singh- is introduced chasing a suspect who ends in the hospital in a comatose state. Months later, he is reinstated in the force following an investigation into what transpired, but the time away takes its toll on him.

His wife, Shaila (Esha Deol), a humanitarian lawyer, has left him for Rajiv (Satyadeep Misra), causing Rudra's fragile psyche to begin fraying. His mental state is of concern to his colleagues, but being a perceptive investigator, they nevertheless rely on him, especially his departmental head Deepali Handa (Ashwini Kalsekar) and his teammates who are in awe of his gut feelings.

Rudra, meanwhile, encounters Alia Chokshi (Raashii Khanna) an intelligent and beautiful lady whose parents and dog have been murdered, the first of the many gruesome cases in the series.

Being perceptive, Rudra gathers that Alia is a psychopath when she stalks him and tries to complicate matters between him and Shaila. Yet he turns to her for assistance and thus intertwines their lives in the six-episode drama, which takes several unexpected twists, some involving a bureaucratic hierarchy that does not know quite what to do with Rudra.

While this may sound simple, the unpredictable game of cat-and-mouse hunt between Rudra and the sadistic criminals is far from convincing, as the plot moving at a slow pace, is simply liberal and laden with ample cinematic liberties.

Also instincts or "proof nahin hain, gut feeling" seems to be Rudra's mantra that keeps him ticking. Apart from this, his character is unconsciously crafted, and the emotion is missing.

Also, Alia Chokshi's character simply does not jell in the narrative because it is not well-etched according to the Indian milieu. Plus, she effortlessly flits in and out of Shaila's boyfriend Rajiv's house.

With his brooding, intense demeanour, Ajay Devgn appears sleepwalking through this author-backed role. We have often seen him perform similar characters, and as Rudra - the tortured, rule-bending lawman who never lied to his wife, offers nothing new.

Raashii Khanna is effervescent as Alia Chokshi. She is charming and has a striking screen presence. She effortlessly portrays her character despite it being unrelatable.

KC Shankar as the artist Siddheshwar Kumar and Amaraa Sangam as the young mother Shenaz Daruwala are brilliant. They stand out with their fine performances.

Ashwini Kalsekar, Atul Kulkarni, Rajiv Kachroo as Rudra's colleagues, and Ashish Vidyarthi as the Inquiry Commissioner are bland and stereotypical in their delivery.

Esha Deol Takhtani as Rudra's ex-wife Shaila seems like an oddball in the series with an equally miss-matched partner in Satyadeep Misra's Rajiv.

Overall, the series may only appeal to Ajay Devgn's fans.