'Mithya' Review: An interesting watch that could have been much better

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan 

Following the success of ‘Aranyak,’ Rohan Sippy is back with another slow-burning thriller set in a misty hill town. And this time around he dons the director’s hat. Produced by Applause Entertainment in association with Rose Audio Visual Production, ‘Mithya’ is a 6-part ZEE5 Original series starring Huma Qureshi, Avantika Dassani, Parambrata Chatterjee, Rajit Kapur, and Samir Soni in pivotal roles. The series marks the debut of Avantika Dassani, who is the daughter of yesteryear Bollywood actress Bhagyashree.

‘Mithya’ follows Juhi Adhikari (Huma Qureshi), a professor of Hindi literature at a Darjeeling-based college, who accuses her student, Rhea Rajguru (Avantika Dassani), of plagiarism. What starts off as a matter of academic deception soon spirals into a psychological battle of one-upmanship between Juhi and Rhea. Amidst it all, things get further complicated when Juhi learns that Rhea is trying to seduce her husband Neil (Parambrata Chatterjee). Juhi continues to get increasingly suspicious of Rhea after she loses her wedding ring from her bag, believing it to be Rhea's doing. This in turn triggers a devastating sequence of events that threatens to engulf everything and everyone around them.

The series explores the different notions of truth through the characters of Juhi and Rhea. While Rhea pleads that she is innocent, Juhi is certain that her student has indulged in plagiarism. Who is lying? Can truth be absolute or is truth always subjective in nature? Well, Mithya does try to delve into this debate at first but then it abruptly strays away into a realm of clichés and gimmicks, leaving much to be desired.

The biggest culprit of ‘Mithya’ is weak and inconsistent writing. This is exactly where ‘Aranyak’ scored heavily. Firstly, its story at the denotative level was solid to begin with. The strong subtext enriched it further, resulting in a formidable narrative. Interestingly, ‘Mithya’ just like ‘Aranyak’ ends up as a murder mystery.  Here also we have a male and a female cop who are trying to solve the crime. But while there is so much going on in the world of ‘Aranyak’ with its mythical renderings of a serial killing entity in the forest, political ploys employed in the power circles, drug and social media culture amongst the millennials, personal agendas amongst the grownups to go along with a good old procedural approach employed to solving a puzzling murder mystery, the plot of ‘Mithya’ is nowhere near its level of brilliance.

As far as ‘Mithya’ is concerned, all we have in our hands are two female characters who have intense dislike for one another. From the moment we meet Juhi and Rhea, we are certain that the two will find it hard to get along. While Juhi is a control freak, Rhea is a rebel who hates being controlled. Now, the idea alone sounds explosive and given the possibilities that it opens up ‘Mithya’ could have been a fascinating show even without the layers that ‘Aranyak’ offers. But the writing department fails to build on the premise of what can possibly happen in the case of a student–teacher dyad going awry.

Now, Huma Qureshi’s talents as an actor have mostly remained unexplored over the last decade, except for her performances in ‘Badlapur,’ ‘Dedh Ishqiya,’ and one of the segments of ‘X: Past is Present,’ which have been three major exceptions where Huma was offered something different to play with and she was up to the challenge. But with the SonyLIV series ‘Maharani,’ she has really succeeded in reinventing herself with the show proving to be a major turning point in her career. Suddenly, the storytellers are seeing new possibilities that Huma is capable of offering as a performer. Her casting as Juhi in ‘Mithya’ is an outcome of the faith that the makers have now starting showing in her.   

The real highlight of ‘Mithya,’ however, is Avantika Dassani’s mesmerizing performance. The scenes that Avantika shares with Huma and Parambrata are simply superb. It’s heartening to see a young performer willing to push herself to such limits. In the hands of a less committed actor, Rhea could easily have got reduced to a mere caricature but Avantika breathes life into it. One can’t help but admire her confidence at such a young age. Huma and Parambrata are both accomplished actors but Avantika is up to the challenge. She doesn’t just hold her own in front of them but also manages to steal away some of the scenes that she is a part of. And if that’s not enough, she even matches Rajit Kapur’s intensity in a couple of rather long sequences she shares with the veteran thespian.   

Now, the first half of the six-episode series is really good. Darjeeling is a beautiful place and the manner in which the series is shot does justice to its enchanting beauty. But, the locales aren’t used with the same level of thought as we witnessed in series like ‘Aranyak’ and ‘The Last Hour’. Speaking of Darjeeling, the 1969 film ‘Mahal’ starring Dev Anand and Asha Parekh does a far better job of bringing the beautiful Himalayan town to life. ‘Mithya’ certainly proves to be an interesting watch but one that could have been much better, especially given the promise of its premise and the exceptional performances on offer.  

A version of this review was first published at The Daily Guardian.

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated 

Complete List of Reviews  

People who liked this also liked...
Share on Google Plus


Post a Comment

Thanks for sharing for valuable opinion. We would be delighted to have you back.