The newest Disney Plus Hotstar Hotstar Specials show, “Dahan,” is a horror drama that is set in the desert town of Shilaspura in Rajasthan. The town is ruled by an old demon named “Ridhiyakan,” who must be appeased in order for him to sleep in his home, Shila (a monolithic rock). The Shila develops cracks, releases “Raakans” (monsters), and all hell breaks loose in Shilaspura when an irreverent IAS officer named Avni Raut (Tisca Chopra) starts explosions in the mountains for the purpose of mining and development.
Reviews: Dahan: Raakan Ka Rahasya; A Science v/s Supernatural Mystery Story
It’s always exciting to read a horror novel that is rooted in bloody history and ancient evil rites. One such program that will take you to a mystical location full of tales and timeless beliefs that people continue to hold onto even in the present day is Dahan.
The story in Shilaspura has two sects: the rebels, Nikasiya, who lost a fight and were driven from the hamlet, and the Karapali, who guard Ridhiyakan’s captivity and pacify him to keep him calm. The people who live there observe sinister rites. Every nightfall, the hamlet is plunged into darkness as no one turns on their lights until the chieftain has finished his pooja and a holy torch has been lit atop Ridhiyakan’s mound.
The villagers are unwilling to work with District Magistrate Avani Raut (Tisca Chopra) when she arrives in the area to start a project to exploit the mines. She decides to proceed with the research nonetheless, and a string of violent events take place, starting with the deaths of two miners and the transformation of the survivor into a living zombie who infects those he assaults.
Everyone believes that the mine explosion caused Ridhiyakan to awaken, but Avani maintains that it is the village’s chief priest, Pramukh Swaroop (Saurabh Shukla), and other individuals with vested interests who are working to maintain superstition and prevent the hamlet from growing. As Shilaspura gradually transforms into the realm of the dead, Avani must contend with her own demons as the rift between her and her son Anay (Rohan Joshi) grows.
Dahan starts out strong, immediately establishing an air of mystery and astonishment. Shilaspura’s bloody past, tenacious superstition, and secrets are interwoven with Avani’s past and the reason for her fall from grace in a compelling narrative.
The writing team of Nisarg Mehta, Shiva Bajpai, Nikhil Nair, and director Vikranth Pawar create a compelling series that combines atmospheric horror, fantasy, thriller, and mystery. Their control over the story is demonstrated by the fact that, until the very end, it is unclear whether the Ridhiyakans or the rationalists are correct and if the happenings are supernatural or merely hallucinations.
The performers in the show will keep you interested in addition to its premise and storyline. As the courageous, obstinate, and stoic IAS Officer, Tisca Chopra demonstrates what a powerhouse of a performer she is. She is a professional, self-assured pragmatist, and interestingly, a mother who is wary of raising children. She resolves her outstanding difficulties in amazing order.
Although Rajesh Tailang, Mukhesh Tiwari, and Saurabh Shukla all give excellent performances, Pankaj Sharma emerges as the standout figure. It’s remarkable how his character evolved from being upright as a saint to aggressive as a warrior.
Up until midseason, the show will keep you on the edge of your seat; however, after that, it will occasionally lose its hold. As a result of the complications, the story becomes dull and monotonous. The tale demands your full attention lest you miss anything crucial, but that shouldn’t be difficult given that you’re getting regular doses of drama and thrills. Although there are severed bodies and blood fountains, the artwork is tasteful and none of it is stomach-churning.
You must see this one if your definition of horror extends beyond jump scares and you enjoy everything occult, zombie-related, and fantastical.
What About The Performances?
All of the key performers in Dahan provide performances that are almost flawless. Excellent work is done by Saurabh Shukla as the local godman and Shila keeper Pramukh Swaroop. Rajesh Tailang (Parimal Singh), who gives yet another faultless performance, is an excellent fit for him.
Tisca Chopra, who plays the damaged but tenacious IAS officer Avni, is stunning. She gives a strong performance that keeps the audience interested in the plot. It’s a pleasure to watch Mukesh Tiwari in his role as mysterious Circle Inspector Bhairon Singh. You can never tell where the actor stands in the tale, which keeps you engrossed.
The rest of the talented cast, including Pankaj Sharma as Avni’s helper Sachet, Ankur Nayyar as ornithologist Sandeep Bajaj, Rohan Joshi as Avni’s disobedient son Anay, and others, provide excellent support. Each actor gives his parts believable credibility.