Dhootha: Is the Telugu Show Inspired by a True Story?

Prime Video’s Telugu-language series, ‘Dhootha,’ meaning “messenger,” unfolds as a riveting psychological thriller with elements of horror, skillfully crafting a haunting universe that simultaneously offers audiences a reflective glimpse into the human psyche. The narrative centers around Sagar Varma, a successful newspaper journalist on the verge of a promotion, leading a blissful life with his pregnant wife, Kranthi Shenoy.

The story takes a chilling turn when Sagar stumbles upon a newspaper clipping predicting the brutal death of his dog, a premonition that tragically manifests moments later. This series of ominous foretellings extends beyond his pet, gradually encroaching upon those close to Sagar. Helmed by acclaimed director Vikram K. Kumar and featuring Naga Chaitanya Akkineni and Parvathy Thiruvothu as Sagar and Kranthi, respectively, the eight-episode series navigates Sagar’s journey as he confronts the shadows of his past and present, forcing him to reassess his moral compass in the face of seemingly supernatural occurrences.

Real-world Inspiration Forms the Foundation of the Series

Although ‘Dhootha’ is not based on a true story, the writer, Vikram K. Kumar skillfully weaves elements from the complexities of modern, morally ambiguous society to construct an ethically gray protagonist. In interviews, Kumar has shed light on his writing process, revealing that he managed to complete the first draft of the story in an astonishing six days. Despite being his first foray into crafting a long-format show, the narrative flowed effortlessly to him, almost writing itself organically. This natural creative process contributes to the seamless quality of the series, allowing Kumar to adeptly incorporate societal nuances into a compelling and engaging storyline.

The series astutely captures the relationship between politics and journalism, particularly in the context of a nation like India. It adeptly delves into the realistic complexities surrounding the media’s role as the “fourth pillar” of democracy, a concept constantly under scrutiny and challenge. It lays bare the impact of political influences that corrupt and compromise journalistic integrity. The narrative sheds light on the insidious pervasion of bigotry and unethical reporting within the media landscape, illustrating how these elements continue to proliferate with each passing day. The series serves as a potent commentary on the challenges faced by modern journalism, where political pressures and biases can erode the very foundations of truth-seeking and objective reporting, a dynamic that resonates deeply in the contemporary socio-political climate.

‘Dhootha’ commendably captures the nuances of investigative journalism, providing an authentic portrayal of the procedures and methods that Sagar employs in the pursuit of his profession. Investigative journalism is a meticulous process that involves thorough research, fact-checking, and the piecing together of information to uncover hidden truths. In the series, Sagar’s approach is depicted accurately, showcasing the dedication, persistence, and attention to detail required in this field. It also likely portrays the challenges investigative journalists often face, such as navigating legal complexities, handling sensitive information, and confronting potential backlash, and provides viewers with a genuine insight into the demanding yet essential aspects of the profession.

The series’ choice to set its narrative in the quaint city of Vizag, while frequently name-dropping small towns and villages in the surrounding area, contributes significantly to its authenticity. By grounding the storyline in real-world locations, the series enhances the relatability of the characters and amplifies the immediacy of the threats they encounter. The inclusion of specific locales not only adds a layer of realism to the narrative but also provides a sense of connection for viewers familiar with the geography of the region.

Although the series isn’t grounded in a true story, it masterfully incorporates elements that anchor it in reality. The atmospheric elements, such as the evocative background score and the persistent pattering of rain, coupled with the dimly lit scenes, contribute to the pervasive mystery and horror that define the series. The actors deserve commendation for their powerful performances, breathing life into their characters and adding depth to the narrative. ‘Dhootha’ is more than just a tale of suspense; it serves as a testament to the triumph of good over evil. The story resonates as a reminder that, when faced with choices, opting for the path of goodness is invariably the right decision.

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