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Tooth Pari review: Shantanu Maheshwari and Tanya Maniktala's 'impossible' love story loses its fang in execution and kills the genre

Tooth Pari: When Love Bites has a very interesting premise. But that's about it!

Tooth Pari review: Shantanu Maheshwari and Tanya Maniktala's 'impossible' love story loses its fang in execution and kills the genre
Shantanu Maheshwari and Tanya Maniktala in Tooth Pari: When Love Bites

Last Updated: 01.55 PM, Apr 20, 2023


A young female vampire named Rumi (Tanya Maniktala) breaks her tooth while on a hunt and afterwards develops feelings for a human doctor named Roy (Shantanu Maheshwari). This leads to a violent, gory, and delirious collision of worlds in Tooth Pari: When Love Bites.


The early 2000s were the time when vampires ruled the screen. With The Twilight Saga and its parody, Vampires Suck, and also the Hindi version, Pyaar Kii Ye Ek Kahaani, we were dumped with content about the blood-sucking creatures. Although they were panned, they became a part of our childhood and also a guilty pleasure, so to speak. Now in 2023, Netflix has a Hindi series, Tooth Pari: When Love Bites, with a very interesting premise. But that's about it!


A naive dentist who aspires to be a chef gets a visitor from "Neeche," a vampire who loses her canine tooth after biting a prosthetic neck. This is the beginning of a love story that is impossible, but we have seen it happen before. Tanya Maniktala is a vampire named Rumi, who is a rebel travelling as "Upar" to hunt for blood. She searches for predators who are abusive and look down upon women as their prey. Her fate changes when she meets Dr. Bikram Roy, the dentist. Thus begins the relationship between "upar" and "neeche" when all hell breaks loose.

Pratim D. Gupta, who is the creator of the show, brings a fresh and quirky element, which is exciting enough. However, it's the execution that plays the foul despite having a meaty cast. First things first, the bizarre world becomes quite hotch-potch given that there's a story to be taken forward. This reminded me of Ek Thi Daayan, which had a super-impressive first half, setting the base for an amazing second half but went downhill after the intermission.

The predictability with which the characters are introduced even kills the suspense built at the beginning. Every character has a back story, but it feels like they are unable to express it. Among the lot, the weakest turned out to be the lead, Tanya Maniktala; she creates a lack of impression from the first go, and it seems like even she is taking time to get into the groove of a vampire. Even in serious situations, there are laughable instances, irrespective of the fact that it's a make-believe world. Her mentioning "Kabir Durrani" in A Suitable Boy made it more palpable than her constant "Doc Roy."

Talking about the talented bunch of actors, all of them fail to save this series from going "neeche." Individually, despite trying their level best to keep the momentum, we are lost, just like the plot.

Shantanu, as the leading geeky dentist, could have offered much more than just frowning eyebrows and looking puzzled at every situation that arises. He feels perplexed even in the face of his parents' questions and taunts, just like when vampires are all around him. The actor made a terrific Bollywood debut with Gangubai Kathiawadi; however, if that was two steps ahead, Tooth Pari took him one step back.

Revathy plays Luna Lukka, a witch who is hunting vampires and slaying them with her sharp knife at first sight. Her first slay with a dance makes you look forward to more of her doing it throughout the series. But the first impression was a lasting one, and we couldn't get more of it despite her calibre as an artist. The actor has grey shades with a salt-and-pepper look, making her appearance beautiful. We deserve more of her as an actor, and the Hindi film industry should know it.

Sikandar Kher, who plays an alcoholic cop, juggles between both worlds, and then what? The actor has nothing new to offer, and it's time we wait for Aarya Season 3 to come soon. Saswata Chatterjee, as David, the vampire, does take charge in a few of the sequences, especially in the Meet the Parents episode, but we know even he deserves better.

Among the most impressive ones in the talented lot is Tillotama Shome, who is a courtesan turned vampire. She doesn't bring out her fangs, but her dialogue delivery is mesmerising. The straight-faced performance, especially in the penultimate episode, steals the show entirely, and that's the boldness we expected more from her in the entire series. But yes, she was better than the rest!

Another one to watch out for is Adil Hussain as AD, the gatekeeper of "neeche," a human who has control over the vampires. He is witty, monstrous, and incredible, with an unrecognised get-up. With a few Hindi words and more Bengali, Hussain takes ownership of how to make one love to hate a character.

However, credit where credit's due, Pratim brings in Communism and Naxalism, which were all the rage in the 1970s, to set up a political climate as well as human behaviour. The metaphorical approach of bringing vampires into the picture works to a good extent and might be a discovery for people who are unaware of it.

The dingy setup of "Neeche" is uncomfortable, and that makes it quite an interesting environment. It breaks the monotony of vampires, which we have seen before, be it having a palatial house in The Twilight Saga or getting through a lift in Ek Thi Daayan.

There are moments that are not for the faint-hearted or for people who lose their sh*t at the sight of blood, just like Doc Roy does. It might cause some discomfort, but we have seen the worst on OTT, right?


"Vampires Suck!" This might have multiple meanings to it, and guess what fits Tooth Pari: When Love Bites?


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