What would you do if you had Hundred days to live?
As Maddy, aka Manohar Dahiya, the struggling rapper from Haryana puts it, “Agar sabko pata chal jaave k life ki gaddi mein kitna tel bacha hai, vahin jaavenge jahaan jana hai.” (If everyone knew how long they were going to live, they’d do exactly what they really, truly want to do.”)
Netra Patil has Hundred days to live. She is a lower middle class government employee whose personal life is as dull as her professional life – and both are passing by in a haze of clearing files and washing the dirty underwear of her widowed father, grandfather, and brother. In the profound words of her colleague slash muhbole Mamaji, she is a kadhi patta (curry leaf) – a great flavour enhancer in other food items, but never a curry of its own.
Saumya Shukla is a disgruntled cop, who is unceremoniously pulled out of gun fights with drug dealers to play light-the-lamp at Women’s Day functions. In her own words, she is the “item girl of the police department”. Her husband, an IPS batchmate, keeps getting promotions and high profile cases. Her boss, who is also the couple’s mutual friend, gives her assignments like dancing in flash mobs for public awareness generation and is talking about transferring her to a desk job.
It is no coincidence that both Netra and Saumya are women, because their lives would not look the same if they were men in the same positions.
The story of Hundred begins when the two cross paths and find hope in one another. Saumya sees Netra as a potentially excellent undercover agent because she has literally nothing to lose. Netra finds a way to make her last Hundred days much more action-pact and exciting than the rest of her life put together.
“Hundred Days to Live” is not a premise you expect to make for a funny show. But the genius of Hundred is that it is essentially a dark comedy – full of thrills, suspense and double crosses.
The leads of the show may be two women facing the patriarchy but the show itself suffers from no gender bias. It is an equal opportunity offender. There are no typical characters here, and definitely no black or white ones. Every “hero” has dark shades and every “villain” has a good side.
Lara Dutta is amazing as the “do thappad maarungi” kind of tough cop, facing her frustrations and flaws with a wry humour. She is also the narrator of all episodes of Season 1 with some whistle-worthy gems commenting her own life, such as, “Ab judge karo mujhe. Ghanta fark nahi padhta. Aur jinko padhta hai, unki zindagi kaunsi gulzar hai?” (Translation unavailable, ask your nearest Hindi speaking person.)
Rinku Rajguru as Netra Patil is just mmmwah! She is the most entertaining dead-person-walking character you’ve ever seen on screen. Karan Wahi is impeccable as the Haryanvi “toy boy” and a shoutout to the rap writer for this show for writing some seriously deep yet seriously entertaining lines for Wahi.
Pretty much every character is perfectly cast, and it is one of those rare shows that make you go back and listen to the music track online. The finale throws some curveballs that leave you waiting for Season 2, COVID permitting.
PS: For whatever limited readership these reviews have, I’ve decided to paste a donation link at the end of every review from now on. Here’s today’s.
The Women of IIMs have come together to help some displaced and unemployed migrant labourers get home safe. Some people I know and have a lot of respect for are personally involved. Here is the link to their campaign: https://milaap.org/fundraisers/support-wiim