Deepa Mehta's Leila is a brave commentary on the future of the country, but this new Netflix show totally forgets to connect with you emotionally.
Leila depicts the journey of a widowed woman in a nation called Aryavartha, where the general rules of living are abolished. Shalini is trying to live out of the hell where women are forced to take a bath in dirty water and roll over the left-over food by supporters of Aryavartha. She was separated from her daughter and her husband who was a Muslim, killed in front of her, so her main motive is to find her daughter, Leila. It is 2047, places are segregated based on the work done in the place, where slums is a shelter for radicals and most women who were either rich or independent or married to a man of different caste are playing a game of struggle at different camps, like labor camps, attaining purity camps. And transgenders are the local police in camps. But how she tries to get out of this hell? who helps her ? and does she finds her daughter?
The show is based on Prayaag Akbar’s novel with the same name but looks like a first copy of The Handmaid’s Tale and it is actually good that India gets its own Handmaid’s Tale sort of series. But both Atwood and Akbar’s novel depends upon showing the emotional struggle, a woman faces in a dystopian world. While Hulu’s adaptation of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale brilliantly touches the emotional struggle part by part in every episode, Netflix’s adaptation of Akbar’s Leila fails to do so, as it looks more concerned about the dystopian conditions. Akbar’s novel gathers pace slowly which gives a brilliant character base for the development of each and every character but this Netflix series looks very rushed and thus is unable to make you feel emotional connect for the protagonist. Both Ghoul and Leila share bitter, dark and possible dystopian atmospheres. But Ghoul’s setting is more hard-hitting than Leila. Both the shows are co-written by Patrick Graham, so you know where the idea of such backdrop is coming from. It is a brave attempt but at the cost of bad execution.
Huma Qureshi as the protagonist plays her best role till date while Siddharth manages to lift up his character pretty well. The black acid rain, the multicolored thunders and a sky with no sun, the segregated sectors and the garbage mountain in slums all adds up to make this show a brilliant example of good cinematography. But the show hits a rock bottom when it comes to script, in the last episode, Huma is repeating “ Fuck you Joshi” but you can’t really connect to her anger and half of the show struggles to connect because of this Hindi-English mix dialogues. Also, the background score at times wants to be the initial melody of Kailash Kher Sufi songs and sometimes they just want to be low-key melodies in a dark show, but they all are played in a very abrupt manner and thus disorganized the background score of the show.
Overall, the show will be liked by some because of its bravery but will be hated by some for lack of emotional connect.
Acting - 3 / 5.
Direction - 2.5 / 5.
Script - 2 / 5.
Cinematography - 3.5 / 5.
Music - 2 / 5.
FINAL VERDICT - 2.5 / 5.
There are rumours that like Selection day , this show will also conclude its first season by releasing another six episodes, so if they went well, then only include this show in your definite watchlist otherwise watch it if you don't have anything to watch this week.