Amazon Prime Video’s Hush Hush is a show that could have been as great as Bombay Begums, but it sadly falls short. But despite that, the show packs stellar performances from some of the best in the business—from the ’90s stars Juhi Chawla and Ayesha Jhulka to Shahana Goswami, Kritika Kamra, Soha Ali Khan and Karishma K. Tanna.
Based in Gurugram’s luxury La Opulenza residential towers, it is centred around the good-ol’ fascination with the rich and their messy lives. The rich in the show are a mix of the old and the new, and their lives look as grand as the gated community they live in, with swimming pools, golf courses and ponds. But their lives are also full of problems, much like the dusty roads and waterlogged roadways that plague the millennium city.
Hush Hush is a whodunit that is also a commentary on privilege and class but it tries too many things at once. It should have kept it simple because its cast is a dream come true.
A murder is covered up
Ishi (Juhi Chawla) is a powerful lobbyist whose ‘bad deeds’ are splashed all over primetime news. Zaira (Shahana) an A-list Indian bridal couture designer, Saiba (Soha) an ex-journalist, and Dolly (Kritika) a rich woman in a troubled marriage are Ishi’s closest friends and worried about how she is dealing. The four are caught in an unexpected situation and two murders are committed in the lovely lawns of La Opulenza.
The plot is a cross between what we have seen in Jalsa (2022), Bombay Begums (2021) and Big Little Lies (2017). The trailer pretty much shows what the seven-episode series created by Tanuja Chanda is all about—an accidental murder and its cover-up by the rich, privileged women of La Opulenza, who are also ‘four goddesses’ as the name of their WhatsApp group says.
Karishma Tanna is ‘good’ cop Geeta Tehlan who is assigned the case and knows that the women are hiding something. But gut instincts don’t solve cases and she digs deeper to find the truth being hush-hushed.
The respectable plot is marred by often outrageous lapses like the lack of forensics or how Geeta conducts the investigation single-handedly. You are hooked on the first four episodes and wait for the big moments. Sadly enough, that’s exactly when the show loses steam.
What could have ended in a promising conclusion, veers towards setting the premise for a second season instead. The show also never explains the origins of the women’s friendships, something the show hinges on.
There is also the pretty familiar orphanage and sex racket angle that is frankly a tired trope now. Nevertheless, solid acting by Ayesha Jhulka holds it together somehow. The shadowy mystery man and the back stories of the character make for some good moments, but they are just that—moments.
An all-female ride
Despite the flaws in the plot, the actors leave no stone unturned in giving their best. Juhi Chawla’s moments of vulnerability will clutch at your heart and remind you how talented the actor is. But without a lot to go on, she cannot rise to her potential. Ayesha too makes a comeback that is flawless.
Kritika and Soha hold their end as the two versions of young married women with rich husbands. While Soha’s marriage is almost picture-perfect, Kritika’s is the opposite. In fact, her need to hold on to a sham of a marriage and pretend that her gilded life is perfect is a commendable act. Kritika is definitely the more memorable one in the show.
Shahana doesn’t get much to do. Despite that, she delivers an earnest performance. Karishma as the Haryana cop trying to crack the case is watchable, even though her accent falters on occasions.
It is indeed refreshing to watch an all-female cast be messy, guilty, and questionable. OTT platforms in recent times have definitely made space for grey female characters instead of perfect protagonists. Here’s hoping the second season compensates for the flaws in this one.
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