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.


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.

The Village: Lot Of Gore, But Little Substance

Misses the mark.

The Village (Tamil)

  • Cast: Arya, Divya Pillai, and Baby Aazhiya
  • Director: Milind Rau
  • Producer: BS Radhakrishnan
  • Music: Girishh Gopalakrishnan
  • No. of episodes: 6
  • OTT platform: Amazon Prime Video

The genre of horror thrillers has become as overused as romantic films, and stories about villages haunted by a horrific past have also become old as hills.

In his OTT debut The Village, director Milind Rau takes this familiar premise while attempting to do social commentary on nature conservation and superstitions.

However, the acclaimed filmmaker fails miserably to make the audience either scared or make them root for the central protagonist.

Interestingly, the web series is based on a graphic horror novel of the same name written by Asvin Srivatsangam, Vivek Rangachari, and Shamik Dasgupta.


Milind Rau directorial The Village
Milind Rau’s directorial ‘The Village’. (X)

Gautham (Arya) is a doctor by profession. His wife is Neha (Divya Pillai).

They are on a road trip with their daughter Maya (Baby Aazhiya) and a dog called Hectic. During the road trip from Chennai to Thoothukudi, the car breaks down in a deserted village called Kattiyal.

Gautham goes to a nearby town to seek help. While Gautham is away, both Neha and Maya are mysteriously abducted.

Three locals, for their own personal reasons, agree to help Gautham. They are Peter (George Maryan), Karunagam (Muthu Kumar), and Sakthi (Aadukalam Naren).

Running parallel to this, Prakash (Arjun Chidambaram) is a despicable villain and is wheelchair-bound. He sends a group of mercenaries headed by Farhan (John Kokken). He is aided by some scientists.

John’s task is to retrieve a chemical called Lantanite, which may help Prakash to walk again.

What follows is a hotchpotch of different timelines and various themes that test the viewers’ patience.


Arya in The Village
Arya in ‘The Village’. (X)

The biggest flaw of The Village is the weakly written flashback portions.

Here, Milind Rau touches upon the issues of oppression, the corporates taking over villages, and health hazards caused by pollution. These are undoubtedly relevant, but the execution falls flat.

Technically too, The Village is a disaster.

The forest where Farhan and others try to find the Lantanite looks like a poor cousin of the forest shown in the Avatar films.

There is an ample dose of bodies being cut in halves, intestines lying on the floor, and gory-looking men who should have ideally made the audience feel anger and fear. But nothing of that sort happens.

This is because of the cartoonish way that those scenes have been written.

Another major problem with The Village is that we don’t feel any sympathy for the plight of Gautham. This is because the web series doesn’t have strongly written scenes depicting Gautham’s love for his wife and daughter.


Most of the performances only add to the lethargic quality.

Aadukalam Naren and Muthukumar are the only actors who rise above the torrid story.

Aarya, on the other hand, struggles big time in portraying the panic and the desperation required. He labours on many occasions.

The characterisations of Farhan and the mercenaries, too, are written haphazardly.

Arjun Chidambaram does a decent job as a man with severe daddy issues. However, both the character and the performance need more bite.

Final take

The Village web series tries hard to bring a shiver down the audience’s spine but misses the mile by many miles.

November Story: Slow Paced But Effective Crime Thriller

There is a lot to like about Indhu Subramanian’s November Story streaming on Hotstar. The director takes an interesting premise and does a good job for most part of the show. The twists and the turns keep you engaged, there is a solid cliffhanger at the peak of each episode which will keep you intrigued. Yes, there are issues like the slow pace and the long drawn out climax but it still works in spite of its flaws. The reason for naming the show as November Story is because the character of the crime novelist goes to a particular house every year on November 16th. The series consists of seven episodes on the whole.

Tamannah plays Anu, she is the daughter of India’s best crime novelist Ganesan played by GN Kumar.  Anu works as an ethical hacker while trying to look after her father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. She is trying to sell their ancestral property that they own without the knowlegde of her father in order to have more money for her father’s treatment. One day Anu comes across a woman whom she had briefly met in the train the previous day. The woman is found dead in the house she’s been trying to sell. To make things worse her father is there in that house at the time of the woman’s death. Anu is sure that her father is innocent and the rest of the series is about how she proves that her father is innocent along with finding out who actually killed that woman.

The good thing about the series is how the director unravels the plot. He builds up the characters really well. You get into the headspace of the characters and as a result you empathise with Anu’s efforts.

The father and the daughter relationship has also been portrayed with the required sensitivity. Anu’s efforts to be a caretaker daughter to her father will definitely strike a chord.

Another good thing about November Story is how things are tied up seamlessly. The narrative is always a step ahead with the guessing game and also in establishing the motives of the culprit.

The humour in the series comes from the cops’ viewpoint, portraying their restlessness and fatigue. While the comic scenes may look odd given the genre of the series but its understandable as the makers didn’t want to keep the narrative too serious at all times. However these scenes work quite well particularly the ones featuring Aruldoss as the investigating police officer.

Technically also November Story is a pretty good product. The background score of Saran Raghavan blends well with the narrative without screaming for attention. The cinematography of Vidhu Ayanna is in perfect sync with the premise of the show. The atmospherics contribute a lot in the audiences being invested in the series.

After playing the glamorous heroine for most part of her career Tamannah gets an opportunity to show her acting skills and she makes the most of her meaty character. One of the reasons why the character resonates is that it shows that a strong women can be vulnerable and have flaws too. The actress oozes confidence in her part, with this role Tamannah proves that she can be more than a glam doll.

GM Kumar plays the ailing crime novelist writer quite well. Another stand out performance comes from Pasupathy. He is very good as the forensic expert with shades of grey. It is a tricky part but the actor does complete justice to his role.

November Story on the whole is a compact whodunit thriller with a strong emotional thread.