Ranjish Hi Sahi, one among Mahesh Bhatt’s multiple attempts at making his films a personal confession, explores his alleged affair with popular leading lady of Hindi cinema Parveen Babi, again. Previously, Bhatt’s Arth and Mohit Suri’s Woh Lamhe have depicted their relationship, but this web-series comes with much more kindness towards the real-life characters.
Especially Parveen Babi, who was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and mental health issues, while tabloids savoured her well-publicised affair as gossip.
Set in the backdrop of 70’s Bollywood, Ranjish Hi Sahi will make you go, “Hey, is he that actor?” many times throughout the show. Since it's a slice of Bhatt’s life which majorly focuses on Babi, we get to see characters featuring as Amitabh Bachchan (her co-actor in multiple projects), Kabir Bedi (actor she dated) and Zeenat Aman (actor touted as Babi’s rival).
Anyone who has got a glimpse of the trailer, will not be even slightly surprised at the premise which is wholly and devotedly based on the Mahesh-Parveen saga. Amrita Puri, who plays Kiran Bhatt stand-in, makes an attempt to earnestly bring the perspective of a long-suffering wife.
Amrita Puri does an admirable job and so does Amala Paul as she makes you see, just a glimpse of, Parveen’s agony. She has near to no resemblance with the erstwhile actress, but we don’t even feel the need of that aspect since the actor's expressive eyes tell the tale, word for word. The empathy and warmth she brings to the character compensates for all the previous attempts, made by Bhatt, at portraying Parveen Babi on-screen.
Moving on to the latest on-screen version of Mahesh Bhatt, Tahir Raj Bhasin does all one can to shine despite a badly written script. Undoubtedly, the actor is the glue that holds together a rerun story and faulty scenes, which had little significance.
Written and directed by Pushdeep Bharadwaj, the eight-episode series opens with scenes laid out to give us an overview of who Shankar is. A filmmaker who has three flop films to his credit and struggles to make ends meet.
Bhatt’s constant efforts to claim a moral high ground for his character and, in a way, for himself is a bit stretched out and slightly bothersome. However, Bhasin’s performance makes it worthwhile to watch a self-centred character take a preachy stint.
Besides the many aspects that could have gone in a different direction, Parveen’s character being reduced to just the filmmaker’s lover was the most-heartbreaking part of the series. Although the series comes across as an ode to a long-departed lover, the lion’s share in the narration could have been Babi’s and not Bhatt’s.