Karmma Calling Review: Raveena Tandon outshines in a cold and inconsistent revenge saga

Web Series: Karmma Calling

Cast: Raveena Tandon, Varun Sood, Namrata Sheth, Viraf Patel, Rohit Roy, Gaurav Sharma, Amy Aela, Waluscha De Souza, Vikramjeet Virk, Piyush Khati

Director: Ruchi Narain

OTT: Hotstar

Rating: 2.5 Moons

Can anyone ever get bored of revenge sagas? Probably, never! Ruchi Narain, who directed Kiara Advani's Guilty and wrote the acclaimed film Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, adapts the American show, Revenge, for the Indian audience. Headlined by Raveena Tandon, Namrata Sheth and Varun Sood, the series titled Karmma Calling premiered today on Hotstar. 

Karmma Calling is about Karma Talwar/Ambika Mehra (Namrata Sheth), who returns to Alibaug years after her father Satyajeet's (Rohit Roy) death. Her aim is to avenge his demise. People on Karma's radar are Indrani Kothari (Raveena Tandon), her son Ahaan (Varun Sood) and their close friends and associates. The Kotharis had an important role to play in scamming Satyajeet. In seven episodes, Karmma Calling takes the audience inside Karma/Ambika's world and shows her journey of revenge. 

Ruchi Narain starts the series on a positive note. There's glamour, excitement and curiosity. The director knows that drama works best on OTT. But does Karmma Calling satiate that craving? Not entirely. While the treatment and production scale is lavish and stunning, the core of the series is outdated. Our Indian daily soaps have been thriving for years on a similar foundation and are pretty successful in keeping the audience hooked. This Hotstar series remains constant after a point. The highs and lows, thrills and twists are missing. 

Karmma Calling hardly takes itself seriously as a revenge saga. The main character, Karma/Ambika, is avenging her father's demise but there's no fire within her. One might not feel her anger and angst in her mannerisms. With each passing episode, the show gets predictable, yet confusing. The purpose behind making the series gets lost much before the conclusion. The lack of depth in storytelling and emotions washes off the flavour of revenge. More than the story and narrative, the focus and emphasis is on fashion, styling and production design. 

What works for Karmma Calling is the flashback. Rohit Roy does his best to make the backstory stronger and it does work to an extent. When the story comes back to the present time, the on-surface gorgeousness consumes more space than impactful storytelling. The show focuses on glamour rather than story. Now and then, the Kotharis host a party and Karma/Ambika gets an entry without having to struggle. The dialogues are lousy. The way Karma says, "Oh, hi," is annoying and dull. 

Raveena Tandon is the saving grace of Karmma Calling. She's a diva and that reflects when Indrani Kothari makes an appearance on the screen. The actress looks stunning and becomes the strongest pillar of the show despite getting a below-average character to play. Namrata Sheth should have been the soul of the show but her expressions and dialogue delivery lack impact and grace. She looks beautiful but her acting chops should have been sharper. Varun Sood looks hot but that's not enough to uplift a series. He appears as confused as the audience would be while watching the show. 

Waluscha De Souza performs decently but over dramatic sequences cannot be ignored. Piyush Khati is a delight to watch among the rest of the star cast. He leaves behind an impression with his performance. 

Karmma Calling is a beautiful-looking show that lacks gravitas. A stronger plot, better character sketches, less melodrama and more focus on creating an impact would have done wonders. With a hint at the second season, there's hope for improvement.