This is the best series I’ve watched in a long time. And as is evident from this blog, I’ve watched some series.
Afsos, as the trailer would tell you, is the story of a man who wants to die but has failed at committing suicide eleven times in a row. Desperate in the face of this failure, he stumbles upon the advertisement for a service called “Emergency Exit” – a service that helps people struggling with suicide by murdering them for a price.
Nakul, our hopeless protagonist, signs up for the service, only to regret it shortly afterwards when his therapist confesses to having feelings for him. He seeks to revoke his request but wheels are already in motion and it may be too late. Or not.
There is story, and then there are characters. Sometimes a wonderful story can be told with just one character. And sometimes the characters are rich and aplenty but the story may not work. Afsos is that rare product with both – an incredibly engaging story with one of the most eclectic set of characters ever seen.
A contractor who gets people assassinated at their own request and runs her business with all the professionalism of an Airtel call center. A Hit(wo)man with a work ethic to kill for. A sadhu who is on the run from the law but does not know it. A therapist who seems ready to go well beyond the call of her duty to save her client’s life. A scientist who thinks he can play God. An honest cop from Uttarakhand who comes to Mumbai on a mission of his own, expecting Mumbai Police to be a swanky police force. A pot-bellied cop he finds instead, playing antakshari with his constables and a pair of small-time thieves.
The mind-bending tapestry of these characters is connected together through one fibre – death, and the avoidance of death.
The cast is impeccable. Gulshan Devaiah reminded me again why he is my favourite. Anjali Patil plays the therapist with such subtlety that you need to pay very close attention to her words to detect the three-step therapy she is up to in literally every dialogue. Ratnabali Bhattacharya is hilarious as the contract killer from customer care heaven and Heeba Shah is terrifying in every scene.
Afsos is extremely witty, very intelligent, and full of surprises. Just when you think you have a character down pat, you are hit with a twist you do not see coming. Or you see it coming and are impressed with the execution nonetheless.
At the centre of it all is Nakul, the depressed writer who says, “My life story is so poorly written ke mujhe lagta hai maine khud likhi hai.” Ironic dialogue for the best-written life story in a long long time.