Poacher: This Gripping Ecological Drama Thriller Is A Reminder Of The Need For Peaceful Coexistence Between Man And Nature

Richie Mehta makes a scathing commentary on the human ambition of wanting to dominate every aspect of the world and its repercussions.
Poacher (Malayalam)
  • Main Cast: Nimisha Sajayan, Roshan Mathew, Dibyendu Bhattacharya, and Ankith Madhav
  • Director: Richie Mehta
  • Producer: Alia Bhatt and Prerna Singh
  • Music Director: Andrew Lockington
  • Cinematography: Johan Huerlin Aidt
  • Genre: Action Thriller
  • Episodes: 8
  • Rating: 4/5
  • First Published in: Southfirst

Richie Mehta’s Delhi Crime (2019 and 2022) is easily one of the best web series that has come out in the last decade. Both seasons were gripping, not just as an investigative thriller, but the human drama is equally powerful.

Not surprisingly, Shefali Shah got a lot of acclaim for her brilliant performance. The senior actor got a new lease of life with that show.

Now, the director is back with another binge-worthy show. This time around, Richie Mehta focused his lens on the burning issue of poaching (hunting animals illegally) — in this case, the ivory of elephants being smuggled.

The story of Poacher is based on real-life incidents that took place in Kerala.

Through the eight episodes, Richie Mehta makes a scathing commentary on the human ambition of wanting to dominate every aspect of the world and the repercussions of that on wildlife.


At the heart of its story are some determined forest officers led by Mala (Nimisha Sajayan). Mala’s life mission is to ensure that the poachers are apprehended and paid for their crimes.

A still from the series ‘Poacher’. (X)

She has a deep bond with the forest and the wildlife. She is emotionally driven for a reason, which is better understood by watching the web show rather than saying it.

And then, there are Alan (Roshan Mathew) and Neel (Dibyendu Bhattacharya).

These three officers and a few more people lead an extensive investigation from Kerala to Delhi.

The human–animal conflict and the need for wildlife conversation is a critical socio-political issue that concerns the lives of not just animals but also human beings.

Richie Mehta does an amazing job of making the viewers feel empathetic towards the plight of these majestic creatures.

Running parallel to the investigative drama is a much-needed perspective from the animal kingdom. Some scenes showcase the retaliation of animals.

Through these portions, the director makes the viewers contemplate deeply—even those not passionately interested in wildlife about the potential consequences, if the roles were to be reversed.

Many important questions have been raised about the dynamics between humans and animals.


Though primarily a Malayalam web series, there are also segments where the actors speak in Hindi, English and a bit of Bengali. But this switch does not hamper the flow thanks to the captivating narration and the brilliant performances.

Nimisha Sajayan in ‘Poacher’. (X)

This is the second web series of this year after Abhishek Chaubey’s Killer Soup, where the characters alternate between different languages. This is indeed a good trend.

Coming back to Poacher, Richie Mehta also does a wonderful job of exploring the intricate world of poaching.

He talks about how poachers are just pawns in the bigger scheme of things and how the bigger evils are the wealthy dealers and the monstrous human beings who want to dominate the food chain.

Poacher is also technically solid, with particular mention of the cinematography of Johan Huerlin. He does a swell job of capturing both the beauty and the terror of the events happening in the forests of Kerala.

Although Poacher is mostly gripping, some of the climatic scenes could have been done with a tighter edit.

The performances across the board are simply fantastic.

Nimisha Sajayan delivers a spectacular performance by effortlessly conveying the grit and turmoil of Mala.

After The Great Indian Kitchen (2021) and Chithha (2023), this is another powerhouse performance from this brilliant actor.

Roshan Mathew works a perfect foil by bringing in some much-needed lightness. He is very effective in bringing out the humour and sensitivity of Alan.

Dibyendu Bhattacharya’s performance is also top-notch. He brings out the hot-headedness of Neel without any hiccups.

The other supportive characters also shine in their respective parts.

Final take

Poacher is a must-watch on many counts. It is easily one of the best web shows you will find this year.

Richie Mehta did it again with a thought-provoking show, and Alia Bhatt consolidated her position as a quality producer.