In case you had any doubt till now,Islam is in grave danger.After watching Ghoul,you wont easily forget that Islamists face an existential crisis. Al Qaeda,ISIS,Sunni Wahabis,every rabid mullah in your locality and each terror attack in the world has been constantly bringing home this truth that everyone is out to get the adherents of the religion of peace.Microphones,knives,bombs and planes were not enough to vent out these ‘perceived grievances’,and seek redressal.We needed a webseries to paint a horrific picture,and alarm the poor ,helpless religionists into action.Something has to be done,a ghoul needs to be invoked.The invocation is in Aramaic,an ancient,pre-Islamic language,but the ghoul does arrive to save persecuted Muslims from heathen Hindus in the webseries.
The series is set in ‘near future’which might just be post -2019.As part of propaganda against the current regime ,the so-called liberals (led by Anurag kashyap) would like us to believe that India sits on the edge of Hindu totalitarianism. It does not specifically say it is set in India,but names like Chowdhary,Gupta and Laxmi leave little scope for imagination.The dystopian set-up is basically just a ploy to create a scenerio where Islam is being persecuted by the brute ,militant,nationalist Hindu majority.Severe crackdown is in vogue. Holy Books and sacred literature are being burnt,Moslems are being detained and interrogated a la Stalinist regimes in the name of dangers that radical Islam poses,and programmes of re-education and reorientation are under process (Vaapsi) in the name of protecting the society,and maintaining peace.There is even an execution chamber ,on the lines of concentration camps,where Muslim detainees are killed.Such is fear,paranoia and repression ,that a daughter feels obliged to betray her father and report him to authorities.Of course,the father (a dissident Islamic preacher) is presented as some kind of a champion of free speech .
Soviet Russia,Xinjiang,Saudi Arabia,Israel-so many references come to mind,but the makers (led by one Mr Anurag Kashyap) have chosen to denigrate Hindus as oppressors.The series masks its severe hatred for Hindus by presenting it as hypernationalism,and jingoism,but the drift is clear.
The idea is based on Arabic mythology.A Ghul can be summoned by drawing its symbol in your own blood. The ghoul uses the person’s guilt to destroy and kill them. The ghoul then eats a part of the flesh, bringing the body back to life – which the ghoul then inhabits.This idea is transported into a detention camp,run by Manav Kaul (a Goan Christain whose family terrorised native Goans way back in the sixteenth century) and his minions,who are all Hindus.A most wanted terrorist arrives at the camp,and is able to reveal their sins and guilts to the enforcers of the camp.This causes havoc among the staff,and leads to mayhem.
The plot is interesting ,and maintains suspense (or confusion) throughout.The sets are dark,damp ,dilapidating and claustrophobic .The atmosphere looks set for some kind of release or showdown,and when the camp gets infested by the evil spirit,it doent come as much of surprise.Elements of gore and horror are nicely fused to give this an eerie feel.
Performances are first rate.Radhika Apte shines as a motivated trainee-cum-interrogator,as an indoctrinated woman or as the hunter or the hunted one in the climax.If she comes across as conflicted (and constipated),her role demanded so.Manav Kaul is a master.He adds value to every frame he is a part of.The rest of the cast including Mahesh Balraj also play their part well.The ghoul doesn’t look comical,and some scenes do create magic.But the plot is wrapped up too soon for sake of narrative convenience ,and that leaves one bereft of any feeling of satisfaction. The series is a bit disturbing ,although it wont haunt its viewers,but its blatant attempt at fearmongering of Islamic persecution must be decried in no uncertain terms.