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Hakuna Matata Chapter 1 review: Vijay Raghavendra and Ranjani Raghavan try to infuse life into this tepid murder mystery

The first five episodes of the Kishore Moodbidri directorial are now available to stream on Talkies App.

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  • Prathibha Joy

Last Updated: 11.04 AM, May 02, 2022

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Hakuna Matata Chapter 1 review: Vijay Raghavendra and Ranjani Raghavan try to infuse life into this tepid murder mystery
The first five episodes are streaming now

Story: When Amrutha (Chandana Ananthakrishna) is awarded a life sentence in the case of her husband Ashwin’s murder, her parents seek a private investigation into the circumstances leading to the judgement. Special Investigation Bureau officer Vijay (Vijay Raghavendra), who has been suspended from service, is requested by the former head of the department to look into the case as a favour to Amrutha’s parents. Looking into a case that has been closed by his colleagues, obviously, ruffles a few feathers. Unperturbed, though, Vijay proceeds, with help from fellow officer Roopa (Ranjani Raghavan) to figure out if there is any possibility that an innocent person is behind bars.

Review: Talkies App, the new Kannada OTT platform in town has releases a slew of original content, starting with Hakuna Matata, a crime thriller series led by Vijay Raghavendra. Directed by Kishore Moodbidri, who had made the film Malgudi Days with the actor earlier for the same production house that’s backing the OTT platform, Hakunamatata is a 9-episode crime thriller that has been split into two chapters, the first of which (with five episodes) is currently available to stream, with the rest expected to drop in a fortnight.

Hakuna Matata is a murder mystery, but the twist here is that the case has already been ‘solved’ by the Special Investigation Bureau (SIB) and the culprit has been sentenced as well. The alleged perpetrator, Amrutha, is accused, and ‘found guilty’, of killing her husband Ashwin, in record time, given that the couple had a history of discord, and a bunch of other circumstantial evidence pointing to her involvement, including a massive health insurance policy that names her beneficiary. Her family, though, is adamant that despite the differences Amrutha had with Ashwin, she is not the type of person who would resort to violence, or, for that matter, murder.

Her father then calls in a favour from the former chief of the Special Investigation Bureau to help look into the circumstances that led to Amrutha’s quick arrest and sentencing. One of the bureau’s best officers, Vijay, who’s been suspended for apparently doing his job too well, is entrusted with the job, which could ruffle feathers within the agency, given that it was a case that was quickly concluded and any aspersion of faulty investigation could lead to trouble.

Aided by SIB officer Roopa, Vijay sets out to understand the supposed perpetrator, her life before she got married, their brief stay in the USA, return to India, Ashwin’s father’s suspicious death, Amrutha’s severed ties with former friends, etc. And what he unearths is a divided house, half who believe she is a psycho and most definitely killed Ashwin and the rest who swear by her innocence.

The first five episodes of Hakuna Matata Chapter 1 establish the where, when, what and parts of the why in the murder of Ashwin. The who, though, remains a big question mark. Vijay and Roopa are not convinced she did it and even if she did, she did not act alone. So, who is pulling the strings in this crime? This will be revealed when the last four episodes drop in less than a fortnight.

Hakuna Matata is not the most well-made web series. The budgetary constraints are quite glaring in the choice of locations, with the SIB’s investigation room and a jail visitation all looking strikingly similar. The actors, especially Vijay Raghavendra and Ranjani Raghavan try their best to infuse life into this tale, which, right now, comes across a tad tepid.

Verdict: Here’s hoping that director Kishore Moodbidri makes up for the failings in the making with a well-thought-out story.

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