Serial killers have always been a source of fascination for movies and shows. There’s something captivating, yet scary, about serial killers and their motives for committing murders. They’ve been explored in dark shadows of the noir genre and the blood-stained corridors of crime dramas.
Closer home, while Indian movies and TV shows have delved into crime-based stories, they’ve usually taken a straight-forward approach. The audience is informed of a crime and then made to identify with either an honest police officer or the victim. Almost universally, the killer and the cop are men while the victim, generally a woman.
However, for the first time, an Indian show has dared to break conventions and present the story of a female serial killer. Hungama’s psychological crime drama, ‘Damaged’ is a story told from the killer’s perspective and gives an insight into her mind.
‘Damaged’ puts you in the shoes of its seductive, promiscuous and dangerous protagonist, Lovina and paints a graphic image of the world she lives in. She appears loving and friendly, but at the same time, she’s remorseless and brutal.
From one of the initial shots of a dead body being buried in the walls of a house, it’s apparent that ‘Damaged’ isn’t your run-of-the-mill show. In fact, it’s a no holds barred peek into Lovina’s world – she leads a seemingly perfect suburban life, one that is actually plagued by secrets.
‘Damaged’ begins with the murder of a famous painter – in a scene that identifies Lovina as the killer and also sets the tone for the show.
This brings the hero and the villain into the spotlight, Lovina and Abhay. But it isn’t quite apparent who’s the villain and who’s the hero. Because although Lovina is a serial killer, she has empathy and a sense of reasoning. On the other hand, Abhay is a cop but he his cold and is almost devoid of all human qualities. And that very contrast increases the story’s complexity as you never really know who’s right, the cop or the criminal.
Although ‘Damaged’ poses as a war between good and evil, it constantly keeps blurring the line between those concepts. And that gives the stars of the show, Amruta Khanvilkar and Amit Sial a lot to experiment with.
As Lovina, Amruta Khanvilkar gets a role that allows her to bring to fore the entire range of emotions that she is capable of. From being callous in one scene to vulnerable in another, Amruta gets a complex role that she immediately sinks her teeth into. With a sensual performance and strong dialogue delivery, she breathes life into Lovina and draws us into her world without a hitch.
Amit Sial as the ruthless Abhay is also a force to reckon with. The character is living a troubled life and unable to cope with whatever is happening in his personal life. And while the script does the job of establishing that, Sial fuels that inner tension with his performance. He’s bound to get under your skin as well, with his nonchalant and borderline abusive behaviour.
Aarambh Mohan Singh’s directorial expertise shines throughout the show as he methodically interweaves the storylines of Lovina and Abhay.
Aarambh Mohan Singh has worked with the likes of Sanjay Leela Bhansali (‘Goliyon ki Raas Leela – RamLeela’), Sriram Raghavan (‘Badlapur’) and Omung Kumar (‘Bhoomi’). And he has clearly brought his experience of working with them to ‘Damaged’. There’s a very cinematic feel to the show, a rare feat for a show meant for a digital audience. In addition to that, Singh’s ability to convey sensuality without resorting to overtly sexual scenes is laudable as well.