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Chhotolok review: Daminee Basu shines bright in Indranil Roy Chowdhury’s unputdownable cop drama

Ushasi Ray proves her talent. Gaurav Chakrabarty shows his versatility. And then there is A-class writing to make the show class apart 

Chhotolok review: Daminee Basu shines bright in Indranil Roy Chowdhury’s unputdownable cop drama
Daminee Benny Basu as Sabitri Mondol

Last Updated: 08.03 PM, Nov 03, 2023


Story: Upcoming model and small-time actress Rupsha Ghosh (Ushasi Ray) is found dead in her apartment. When SI Sabitri Mondal (Daminee Basu) and her junior Jamil Sheikh (Pratik Dutta) start their investigation, they see a complex maze of power, politics, revenge, and lust. Multiple characters are introduced. Raja Bhattacharya (Gaurav Chakrabarty) – Rupsha’s boyfriend, Mallika Das (Priyanka Sarkar) – Raja’s wife, Mohor Bhattacharya (Indrani Halder) – Raja’s politician and powerful mother, Farooq (Loknath Dey) – Mohor’s former driver, Tanmay Bagchi (Debesh Chattopadhyay) – Mohor’s rival and a corrupt politician, Kasturi Guha (Ushasie Chakraborty) – Tanmay’s CA, and several other beautifully written characters entice you till Sabitri finds the killer.


Review: First thing first, it is a treat to watch Daminee Benny Basu on screen. Chhotolok is one of the rare occasions when we get to savour her performance for a long time and she is spotless as SI Sabitri Mondol. The blend of Sabitri’s quirks, diligence, and commitment to her work and Daminee’s grip over her performance is one of the most entertaining bits in the show. Oh, what a shame that we don’t see her more often!

Before going to the acting department, let’s talk about the show. Chhotolok is what a mature web series should look like. It is a murder mystery and it is unputdownable. But it has its own style and pace.

Like many other Indranil Roychowdhury’s works, this too starts with glimpses of characters in a series of small events. In no time, these glimpses are stitched into layers of bigger and bolder events. Those who are familiar with Indranil’s work will admit that he is not known for playing to the gallery. There is barely any public-pleasing, over-the-top moment in the show. And yet, the series takes us through a scandalous murder. The director keeps it so subtle that even vital characters and events are introduced without any hullabaloo. So much so that the thumb-rule of a murder mystery is never interrupted. It keeps the criminal away from the limelight and finally presents the solution in a dark and melancholy platter. Most importantly, the social take of the story emerges bigger than the real crime. Evidently, it is a result of sheer good writing – of story, screenplay, and dialogues. Each character is developed with care so much so that each has a convincing backstory and an arc – a quintessential feature of a good web series.

Above everything else, Chhotolok holds up a mirror to the Bengali society we live in. It is original and organic and layered with class politics – and hence, the title, Chhotolok. The show, very subtly, weaves in the nuances of the power dynamics, disregard, and relentlessly brewed hatred towards each other between a chhotolok (working class people) and a bhodrolok (white-collar professionals and rich-influential people). In Indranil’s plotline, this layered feudal structure reeks of degenerated Bengaliness. The show overall is very Bengali in nature and yet it has its global flavour. Writing is indeed a masterstroke from Sugata Sinha and Indranil Roychowdhury.

Apart from its writing, Chhotolok is also about acting. Daminee is the backbone of this show. Known to be an acclaimed actor, Daminee is criminally underutilised by the Bengali entertainment industry. She is a powerhouse and her every scene in Chhotolok is a treat. Sabitri’s interrogation, mannerisms, household chores, dealing with children, and slapping a suspect seem like a joyride. Besides, there is Pratik as Jamil – Sabitri’s assistant. He too is an underutilised actor who takes our breath away while taking a pause before slapping an aide of Kasturi Guha. He is outstanding in his subtle, low-key performance.

Ushasi Ray is another impressive point in the show. Her character Rupsha draws the audience to the show at the beginning. This character holds up a mirror of her neighbourhood of bhodrolok. She chases money unabashedly and shows no qualms about it. The actress brings out the struggle in her journey. Ushasi is one of the younger actresses who seem to be working on their skills.

Indrani Halder impresses as Mohor Bhattacharya. In fact, she delivers a stronger performance in the character’s younger version. Gaurav establishes his versatility through Raja. Priyanka Sarkar shows what she can do with a solid character and a strong director. Ushasie Chakraborty has brief screen time and her character Kasturi’s interaction with Sabitri Mondol is a scene to remember. Loknath Dey and Farooq and Sumit Samaddar as Madhu have also presented a strong performance. In fact, the show is dotted with multiple characters whose presence adds value to the story.

Verdict: Chhotolok is one of the finest Bengali content available in India in the OTT space. It doesn’t go overboard and yet it is gripping and entertaining. It is a must-watch.

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