Inspector Rishi : A gripping whodunit that also makes strong points on how superstitious beliefs are used to create chaos

Notwithstanding the tacky CGI and some convoluted plot points, director JS Nandhini keeps the audience engrossed for the most part.
Inspector Rishi (Tamil) web series; 29-03-2024, Horror-Crime Drama, 10 Episodes, 16+, OTT
  • Main Cast: Naveen Chandra, Sunaina Yella, Srikrishna Dayal, Kanna Ravi, Malini Jeevarathnam, Kumaravel, and Harini Sundararajan
  • Director: JS Nandhini
  • Producer: JS Nandhini and Shukdev Lahiri
  • Music Director: Ashwath
  • Cinematography: Bargav Sridhar
  • Rating: 3.5/5
  • Published in: Southfirst

JS Nandhini’s Inspector Rishi begins with a group of tribes committing mass suicide inside a cave in the Thenakadu Forest near Coimbatore. The reason behind their suicide is a huge mystery and has not been cracked.

Cut forward to 20 years, a series of bizarre murders happen inside the Thenakadu Forest.

Inspector Rishi Nandan (Naveen Chandra) investigates the case. He comes with a lot of emotional baggage.

Joining him in the investigation are local cops Kathryn (Sunaina), Ayyanar (Khanna Ravi), Chitra (Malini Jeevarathnam), and forest ranger Sathya (Srikrishna Dayal).

The locals believe that there are supernatural elements behind these killings. They consider a demigod called Vanaratchasi as the saviour of the forest.

Rishi, on the other hand, firmly believes that all these things are due to a human being with vengeance in mind.

In a nutshell, Inspector Rishi is about unravelling the mystery behind the murders with some impactful social commentary.

Analysis

Srikrishna Dayal plays Sathya Nambeesan in ‘Inspector Rishi’. (X)

The best part of Inspector Rishi is how director JS Nandhini has developed the interpersonal relationships between the characters.

As mentioned earlier, Rishi comes with a huge emotional baggage and is haunted by the death of his ex-girlfriend and has visions of her.

Rishi is also partially blind and as viewers, you are curious to know more about his past and what led to him losing an eye.

Similarly, there is also a homosexual love track featuring Chitra. Thankfully, this track has dealt with the required sensitivity without resorting to clichés.

A special mention must be made of a scene regarding the Vanaratchasi. Villagers talk about how gods like her suffered on account of their sexuality.

Chitra puts herself in the shoes of Vanaratchasi.

The professional and personal challenges of the various officers have been well integrated making the viewers care for them.

A gripping series

Ashwath scored the music for ‘Inspector Rishi’. (X)

Every episode ends on a gripping cliffhanger making the viewers more tense about who is causing this mayhem. Is human greed the reason behind all of this or something bigger?

Thankfully, Director JS Nandhini successfully ties up the knots.

The supernatural elements have also been showcased well, barring a few tackily staged special effects.

The horror comes from the brilliant background score which does not resort to the typical horror clichés.

JS Nandhini also deserves credit for how she has tackled the subplot of superstitious beliefs. There is some impactful social commentary on how superstitions can play with the minds of the most rational people and the chaos it creates.

The show also makes some important points on how human greed can destroy the environment and the need for eco-preservation.

Inspector Rishi also has folklore elements like the Gayatri and Puskhar-created web show Suzhal-The Vortex. The folk aspect makes the show even more gripping.

Coming to the flaws, the CGI is very tacky, to say the least. The show could have easily done away with the few CGI scenes.

Also, some of the descriptions and plot points feel a bit convoluted.

Final take

The performances led by Naveen Chandra and Malini Jeevarathnam are top-notch. Inspector Rishi is a must-watch for those who like whodunits with a dash of folklore.

It is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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