The show doesn’t build complex characters but it fills the plot with complex strings of events that give rise to confusion, mistrust, delusions, paranoia, and how all of this works together in an atmosphere of restrictions.
This lockdown will be an inspiration for many stories in the future and one of them has already arrived on Voot Select. The Gone Game by Nikhil Bhat is a tightly packed and well-acted pandemic thriller. The four-episode series understands the restrictions of immobility and weaves a riveting thriller out of it, where different digital apps become a necessary medium for the story’s progression.
A young banker, Sahil returns to Mumbai from Bangkok and quarantines himself in his bedroom. His wife Suhani lives in the living room. She is a social media influencer, who takes a selfie of eating dinner while on a video call with her husband in the background. Sahil’s whole family, Suhani and her mother talk daily through video calls. As days go by, Sahil’s condition becomes terrible, he gets admitted to a hospital. The COVID-19 test results come positive and after a few days, we hear that Sahil is no more. But, something doesn’t add up.
The show is set in the early days, when Coronavirus was still new to us, around the month of March when living in lockdown wasn’t a habit. The Gone Game smartly plays with the imposed restrictions and makes them a tool for a palpable pandemic-crime thriller which we haven’t seen before. Though the idea of depending on technology in creating the right atmosphere for a thriller isn’t something new. Aneesh Chaganty’s Searching (2018) depicted the whole thrilling story of a missing daughter through a single computer screen. But, in this time of lockdown, this feels like the only way to convey a story. The show doesn’t build complex characters but it fills the plot with complex strings of events that give rise to confusion, mistrust, delusions, paranoia, and how all of this works together in an atmosphere of restrictions.
Obviously, physical pieces of evidence are impossible to reach. The only thing that can be trusted is a set of messages, videos, images, and information on virtual apps and devices. The cases in India are slowly rising on the background but adapting to a new normal is the least concern of the characters and so even the things we take for granted become the devices to create an evil act. The family on the screen appears to be affluent enough to be used to these digital apps and appliances. All the actors did a satisfying job of conveying their emotions through a mobile screen. Sanjay Kapoor and Shweta Tripathi played a key role in revealing the mystery. The end and the final twist aren’t highly satisfying, it almost looks like the makers took an easy way out while their prime focus was only to convey a story that is only visually new for us.
Overall, The Gone Game brilliantly uses a new method of storytelling and presents a somewhat appreciable story in the disguise of a pandemic thriller. It looks relevant and definitely becomes a good start for a new age of stories that are going to be inspired by the current ways of living during a pandemic.
Cast: Shweta Tripathi, Sanjay Kapoor, Arjun Mathur, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Indraneil Sengupta, Rukhsar Rehman.
Creator: Nikhil Bhat
Streaming: Voot Select.
Verdict: A new kind of thriller. Certainly worth a watch but the end is a bit disappointing.