SHE Review: This Netflix Series Is A Lurid Cheesy Take On Female Sexuality
SHE Review: Exploitative and utterly banal, SHE is definitely not a good watch
- Movie Name SHE (Netflix)
- Director Arif Ali, Avinash Das
- Actor Aditi Pohankar, Vijay Varma, Vishwas Kini
Rating:* ½ (one and a half stars)
Sample this. The very gifted Vijay Varma playing a snazzy sociopath named Sasya is taking an undercover cop Bhumi masquerading as a streetwalker home for a night of ferocious love making. Sorry, there is no other more polite way of putting this in a series that insists on being cheesy. He reaches out and puts his hand in the cop-whore’s skirt and makes a comment on her private part which will make you wince.
The above preamble sets the mood for a series that will try so hard to shock you it just ends up being a pain the posterior. I liked the idea of a woman cop being exploited by lawmakers and lawbreakers alike, and her determination to hold on to her job at any cost as long as she gets her pagaar (wages) to look after her ailing mother and rebellious sister.
The sibling-rivalry bit is well played-out and you can feel the sisters’ resolve to keep their heads above water.
But then, as the series jumps from episode to episode, the camera and the co-directors conspire to become as exploitative about their heroine’s sexuality as the characters in the series who are like sophisticated vultures gnawing at Bhumi’s self-worth until she is left with nothing but her body to see her across a maze of murky episodes trying to jostle through a plot that is as filthy as it is unintentionally funny.
At one unbearable point in the plot Bhumi tries to seduce her senior Fernandez (Vishwas Kini who looks more like a surly stockbroker than a plainclothed cop) to hold on to her job. “Desperation is not a virtue,” he reprimands her and then tells to get into the car for some seriously perverse job-training which I will refrain from describing for the simple reason that it made no sense to me.
Why is Bhumi repeatedly put in compromising situations with her seniors and colleagues objectifying her to the point when she begins look at herself as nothing but a body ?In a bizarre sequence in a restaurant she seduces the ogling waiter, takes him to a corner and asks him to touch her.And her response by Sasya when being raped is disturbingly pleasure-filled.
Seriously, Imtiaz Ali? In this era of MeToo restrictions? Though parts of the plot showing Mumbai’s nightlife does hold our attention, most of the junk served up here in the name of post-feminist self-actualization is phoney and unbearably hypocritical.By the time Bhumi began striking seductive poses in front of her kid-sister’s seedy boyfriend, her character and the overall bearing of the presentation begin to appear positively sluttish.
Exactly what is SHE trying to say about a workingclass girl’s struggle to stay afloat in a city that knows only how to commodify the vulnerable? There is no tenderness or sensitivity in the presentation. The debutante Aaditi Pohankar shows some spark and spunk in her sexually unabashed portrayal of a woman who realizes her body is the right tool to manoeuvre her out of a male-manipulated social order. But the situations and dialogues she is put into are so tacky as to leave us feeling embittered and sickened.