If you have been floored by Tota Roy Choudhury in Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahani and Swastika Mukherjee in Qala and Criminal Justice: Adhura Sach, here’s a chance to watch the two actors together in a Bengali web series. Directed by Ayan Chakraborti and set against the backdrop of the disappearance of a young girl, Nikhoj is an intriguing suspense thriller with stellar performances by Tota and Swastika, streaming on Hoichoi.
Diti (Somashri Bhattacharyya), the daughter of the deputy commissioner of Kolkata Police, Brinda Basu (Swastika Mukherjee), has gone missing. Romit Sen (Tota Roy Choudhury), a prominent TV news anchor and Diti’s boss, is discovered in an inebriated state in his blood-stained car parked in the middle of a busy road. Romit is immediately taken into custody.
Brinda and her team discover that Diti and Romit, along with their friends, had gone to a party the previous night. As the police launch an investigation, rounding up suspects for interrogation, a rival news channel begins a campaign to smear Romit’s name. The incident and the public humiliation leaves Romit's wife Gargi (Koneenica Banerjee) and their children devastated.
Tota delivers a compelling performance as the prime suspect struggling with a range of emotions and trying to prove his innocence. Swastika’s portrayal of a distraught mother who’s going through unimaginable anguish and at the same time has to keep a clear head and lead the investigation is heart-wrenching.
There’s a bevy of supporting characters. Of them Saoli Chattopadhyay stands out as Brinda’s assistant Sahana who has a past history with Romit. Loknath Dey also makes a mark as Inspector Samanta, a chauvinist cop who is jealous of Brinda’s rise through the ranks and would go to any lengths to sabotage her investigation.
What specially works for Nikhoj is the development of the key characters – both Brinda and Romit feel like real-life individuals with relatable struggles. This depth adds an extra layer of complexity to the narrative, as viewers become invested in the fates of both the missing girl and the individuals intertwined in her life.
Ayan Chakraborti’s writing builds up the tension with each episode and keeps you guessing, offering a multitude of suspects and motives. The pacing may feel slow at places to some viewers who are used to a faster tempo, and some subplots — such as the one involving Brinda’s assistant — might benefit from better writing.
The series ends without any clue on what has happened to Diti. The investigation hasn’t made much headway and the makers probably intend to stretch it in the second part, which comes as a rude shock after investing nearly 140 minutes of viewing time.