Typewriter review: A solid thriller that packs a punch

Typewriter review: A solid thriller that packs a punch
Movie Rated

A haunted villa with a mysterious past, the entry of a new owner into the house, a character being possessed by the ghost, a series of suspicious deaths, a group of people investigating the reasons behind the unsolved cases, a closure with the culprit meeting his/her end – Typewriter is inclusive of every staple element that completes a horror thriller and shows it's still possible to distinguish yourself among the pack. The difference that filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh brings in this space is his ability to build a surreal world of his own, ensuring the right purpose and emotion to his characters and staying true to the genre at the same time. Goa has never been as scary and as haunting in the recent past. It's difficult to choose between being spooked by the thrills and being charmed by the nuanced storytelling in this series. Nearly every stereotype associated with the genre is backed by an impressive context in Typewriter and it's refreshing to see the story unfold through the eyes of four school kids. This perspective brings wit, humour, and innocence to a space that's often deemed too dark for the younger lot. Sam, Gablu, Bunty are school-going kids who're horror-enthusiasts, have a cute-little ghost club of their own as they try to investigate into the whereabouts of ghosts in their town. In what's a possible literary ode to the works of Enid Blyton and the Nancy Drew series that the director Sujoy Ghosh confessed to having grown up amidst, the kids in this series love their adventures and are also fascinated by a book titled 'The Ghosts of Sultanpore' (written by a local author Madhav Mathews). They swear by the book as a reference point for anything to do with ghosts. Meanwhile, Jenny, the granddaughter of the author, returns to stay in Bardez Villa (the same place where her grandpa breathed his last) with her family. As questions raise over Jenny's involvement around a series of deaths in the town (including her maid), the various layers of the series unravel one after the other in spellbinding detail. Jenny is also in search of her childhood nanny, a dubious mathematics teacher Amit Roy is out to warn his near and dear to not reveal key details about his past, the cops are in search of clues leading to the sudden spate of deaths while the kids are trying their bit to unlock their puzzle. In times when no character beyond lead protagonists even boasts of an arc, it's overwhelming to see a filmmaker attach a strong identity and purpose to an inanimate object like a typewriter. The emotional basis for the school-going girl to understand the supernatural world is to forge a connection with her dead mother. Even the darker characters in the series are blood-thirsty for a purpose, it's their way of avenging the world that cared two hoots about their identity and dignity. The possession of a character by a supposed-ghost/spirit too is backed by a profound logic that's hard to ignore. The storytelling keeps on surprising you on many levels. The 'how' and 'why' aspects of every action/reaction are elaborated with clarity. Sujoy Ghosh makes the atmosphere of the series captivating not only on the story level but even with its visual aesthetics. The problem with the series too is the over-indulgence - too many incidents, too many characters, too much justification and ultimately, it takes time to process all the mumbo-jumbo. At times, you feel the Typewriter team is trying too hard to please its audience than be effortless with the flow. If the series is benefited by one particular aspect, it's the innocence and the adventurous streaks of its younger protagonists. These are not children trying to utter 'cute' lines like a passing mention. Their friendship tugs at your heart-strings, they are clear about what they want and how they want to go about things. Unsurprisingly, it's their performances that impact you the most, Aarna Sharma being the pick among the lot. The boys, Mikhail Gandhi, Aryansh Malviya, and Palash Kamble, complete the picture well. Palomi Ghosh in of the series central characters Jenny is underwhelming, to say the least. Her reactions are more rehearsed, practised than organic. There are so many instances she's not able to depict shock, despair in her behaviour, she really could have put in a better effort. Jisshu Sengupta gets a dream of a role (as Amit Roy), his ability to hide the wild side of the character with a wry smile is enough to explain why he came on board for Typewriter. It's good to see a talented actor like Purab Kohli strike good form after a lull. As a grumpy cop and a single parent to a girl, he submits to his role with assurance. . Typewriter, touching close to about four-and-a-half hours, makes for an excruciating watch (in terms of length) and it's a series that demands attention from its viewers. A twist here, a logic there and you could struggle to connect the dots. Sujoy Ghosh's content once again shows the blunt trust and conviction a filmmaker needs to place in his content. The kind of originality that Typewriter exudes is quite rare for Indian content. Even with a few chinks in the armoury, there's a lot to appreciate and savour in it. Miss it at your own risk. Rating: 3.75/5

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