There is an eerie feel to this six-episode series born out of folklore and superstitions plaguing the country from time immemorial. Whether these stories, which are beyond the realm of reasoning, are true or just figments of fertile minds, is disputable. Nevertheless, these episodes unravel many such unheard narratives.
The first episode titled ‘Reincarnation’ tells us the story of Rajiv and Shivani, who as young kids identified the families of their earlier life entities.
Analysing their stories are scholar and journalist Kuldip Dhiman and psychiatrist Dr Sudhir Khandelwal, who tell us that people who have been reincarnated may remember information about their past lives till a very young age. Over time, some past life recollections dissipate like in dreams, but some stories packed with rich haunting details most of the time defy logical explanations.
Likewise, the second episode titled ‘Hauntings’ unravels the mysteries in Lambi Dehar Mines in Uttarakhand and the dark energies that haunt a portion of the Dal Lake in Srinagar.
The narrator tells us that there are “so many tales, different people across different points of time, all echoing the same story of ghostly apparitions … but what does get real is the tangible terror.” Balancing this narrative in the episode are the amateurish viewpoints of Akshai Sthalekar, a paranormal Investigator, and the psychic, Taara Malhotra.
Episode 3, titled ‘Cursed Places’, tells us the history of Kuldhara in Rajasthan and Talakadu in Karnataka and delves into why they are regarded as being cursed. This episode appears to be balanced with inputs from historian and archaeologist Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi, photographer Sumit Ballani, tour guide Umesh T.H., temple priest K. Srinavasa Rangachari, and the landscape archaeologist M.B. Rajani.
The fourth episode titled ‘Sorcery and Curses’ is all about black magic. It takes us to Purulia in West Bengal and Ooty, citing the trials experienced by Shikha Sanyal and the Sutradhar family. Elaborating on the issue and offering a solution to the two afflicted victims of sorcery are tantric practitioners Purnendu Bandopadhyay, Arunangshu Mitra and Kaustav Sanyal.
Episodes 5 and 6, titled ‘Possession’ and ‘Black Magic’, are similar to the fourth episode. While the fifth details people who are possessed by evil spirits, the sixth elaborates about people tortured by dark forces and on the edge of desperation, in both cases seemingly attacked by supernatural forces.
Parapsychologist Alok Saklani tells us that science can neither prove, nor disprove the existence of evil spirits and that the shamans can solve the problem. The same thought process is echoed by psychic Raj Kamal Garg.
The last three episodes speak mostly about probabilities. They have a thin line that differentiates them.
Overall, each episode filled with restless spirits and unnerving supernatural affairs offers little in terms of memorable thrills. The cinematography is of a decent quality, but the graphics are mediocre. The sound design surely elevates the viewing experience.
Web Series: Dark Mysteries – Anjaan Kahaniyaan
Director: Chandramouli Basu and Radhika Chandrashekar
Cast: Dr. Sudhir Khandelwal, Tara Malhotra, Kuldeep Dhiman, Akshai Sthalekar and Shoaib Alam
Streaming on: discovery+
Duration: Average 26 minutes per episode (six episodes in all)
–By Troy Ribeiro