The murky world of politics in rural Bengal has taken centrestage in Bengali OTT with Rajneeti, a Hoichoi web series directed by Sourav Chakraborty.
Set in the fictional village of Rijpur, at the heart of Rajneeti is Rashi (Ditipriya Roy), the daughter of political bigwig Rathin Banerjee (Kaushik Ganguly), who loses her memory after an accident. As she recuperates, with flashes of the incident coming back, Rashi discovers that her doctor Debojit (Aniruddha Gupta) has lied to her about her past.
As Rashi discovers that she has been lied to about her accident and her life before the accident, she sets out on a mission to find what exactly happened on that fateful night. In the process, she gets entangled in a web of lies spun around a game of political chess.
Rashi finds a trusted aide in her childhood friend Shaunak (Arjun Chakrabarty), and with this help puts together the pieces of the puzzle, discovering unpalatable secrets about her parents.
Ditipriya nails her role of a politician’s daughter who cannot even trust her family members. From her initial innocence to the desperation for answers and eventual rage for revenge, Ditipriya brings a lot to the table. Kaushik Ganguly is phenomenal as her father, a ruthless politician. Arjun Chakrabarty has a charming presence all through and comes into his own in the last episode where we see a completely different side to his character Shaunak. Which makes us hopeful that Shaunak has some aces up his sleeve to be revealed in the second season of the series (if there is one).
Konineeca Banerjee’s Mallika, however, is the trump card of the show. Her transformation from a traditional homemaker who cannot stand up to her violent husband inside the bedroom to a scheming, cold-blooded leader takes you by complete surprise. Aniruddha Gupta also shines as the doctor caught in a bind.
One of the highlights of Rajneeti is its realistic portrayal of the rural political landscape. The seven-episode series delves into the manipulative tactics and backdoor dealings that are carried out by politicians, sometimes at the expense of their own families. It raises important questions about the price of power and the compromises one makes in order to succeed.
The writing of the series is sharp and the screenplay, by Utsav Mukherjee and Rudradeep Chanda, keeps us guessing as alliances shift, secrets are revealed and unexpected twists emerge. Each episode ends with a cliffhanger, for which credit also goes to Amitava Dasgupta’s editing, leaving one eager to discover what happens next.