Ghoul, pronounced gul, is an evil spirit or phantom, especially one supposed to rob graves and feed on dead bodies. That's what the dictionary says. Now blend this creature from the Arabic folklore with a dystopian future and you have Netflix's Indian original, Ghoul to binge on. Starring Radhika Apte, Ghoul is a mini-series that consists of only 3 episodes. The length of the episodes make Ghoul immensely consumable and will keep you engaged till the very end.
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Ghoul is set in a dystopian India, and that isn't all. The India depicted in the series is a very real portrayal of days to come. As a scathing political satire, Ghoul doesn't shy away from bringing political atrocities to light in a seemingly ubiquitous manner. Apart from the supernatural, which IMHO is very tame, it is politics one needs to fear in Ghoul. Radhika Apte plays Nida Rahim, a Muslim interrogation officer and comes across as almost brainwashed to the extent of turning her father in for teaching outside the government approved syllabus. Intellectuals, Muslims in particular, are condemned and taken away for "rehabilitation" purposes, only to never be heard from again. Anyone who questions the government is termed an anti-national and you could find yourself in trouble for even mentioning beef - sounds familiar?
As we start coming to terms with this Orwellian nature of the show, we are shocked with the supernatural aspect of the show. It is a refreshing change to see demonic activity that cannot be shied away by a cross, hell, there is no stopping this Ghoul. This is no ordinary demon that can be exorcised by the holy water. It feasts on the dead, robs graves. There is no getting rid of the Ghoul, which is what makes this series stand out. Rahim and her colleagues are not trying to kill the Ghoul, they are trying to get away. The series lacks jump scares, which is another refreshing change. With excellent cinematography, the tension builds up in a manner that will keep you on the proverbial edge of your seat.
It is a good thing that the series consists of 3 short episodes. The entire series comes up to the length of one film and is decently paced. Had the series dragged on for 8 or 10 episodes (in the usual Netflix manner), it would have ruined the plot. Radhika Apte has struck gold with her Netflix contract – first Lust Stories, then the critically acclaimed Sacred Games, who knows what else she has up her sleeve. Manav Kaul, filmmaker and playwright (of the Tumhari Sulu fame), plays the alcoholically conflicted Colonel Sunil Dacuhna to perfection. Ghoul has easily managed to revive the defunct horror genre of the Hindi film industry while also painting a satirical shade of saffron. It is currently unclear if the series will have a second season, though, the manner in which the series ends, it doesn't seem like a second season is underway. Written and directed by Patrick Graham, Ghoul has been jointly produced by banners Blumhouse Productions, Phantom Films and Ivanhoe Pictures.