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Human Review: Shefali Shah Delivers Spine Chilling Performance in This Traumatizing Medical Drama


Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah and Mozez Singh

Cast: Shefali Shah, Kirti Kulhari, Vishal Jethwa, Ram Kapoor, Seema Biswas, Aditya Srivastava, Mohan Agashe, Indraneil Sengupta

The dependency of human lives on medical care is nothing new and with the raging pandemic, we have started relying on medicines like air. But what if the same thing that promises us a cure takes us to the doorway of death? Disney+ Hotstar’s latest offering Human answers that question, and more, in ten episodes.

The series has two strong-headed, ambitious doctors, Gauri Nath (Shefali Shah) and Saira Sabarwal (Kirti Kulhari), at the helm and starts off as a story dealing with illegal drug trials on the underprivileged section of the society.

Mangu, a young lad, agrees to get his parents as volunteers of a drug testing drive in the hope that the incoming money will help them out of poverty. When his mother falls ill, his investigation, along with the intervention of an NGO group, takes him closer to the more complicated web of lies.

On the other hand, surgeon Saira joins the hospital Manthan with Gauri’s recommendation and her pursuit of the truth forms another major crux of the show.

On the surface, it is a story of the politics that goes behind the business of unethical drug testing on humans and its effects, but the show makers did not forget that the physical form isn’t the only aspect of being a human. To be called that, you need a functioning mind.

This particular treatment of the show is a reminder to the viewers that often time when focusing on physical health, we ignore our mental well-being and forget that the mind and the body complementing each other makes us whole- makes us humans.

But this is not a show that preaches the importance of mental health.

Beneath flexing political power, controlling each other and an investigation around these crimes, lies a story that deals with how much power we give our trauma to control our lives. It is about figuring out the mystery of being a human.

However, drug testing is not the only conflict this series has. In order to be able to erase her trauma, Dr Gauri conducts a separate experiment on ten girls, where they are injected with a drug that makes them laugh all the time. Each episode unleashes new trauma and the actors hand-deliver that experience to the viewers through their strong screen presence and performance.

Those who have seen Shah in her previous ventures (Delhi Crime, Ajeeb Daastans) know what the actress is capable of. In Human, she surpasses that level and sets a higher benchmark for herself. In the scenes where she is not delivering lethal lines in her hush-hush voice, she sends shivers down the spine with her stare. She owns the scenes she is in and in her absence, the audiences are anxious about what the mastermind is up to.

Kulhari, too, is equally a treat to watch. Gauri and Saira aren’t exactly the quintessential embodiment of good and bad. They lie scattered between the two extremes of white and black and the only thing differentiating them is what they do with their individual traumas.

Another actor who made him noticeable in an ensemble cast that includes notable names like Shah, Kulhari, Indraneil Sengupta, Ram Kapoor and Seema Biswas is Vishal Jethwa. His raw energy and the ability to portray the vulnerabilities of a beaten man make us want to watch him more on screen.

The show gets another cookie for treating its queer angle sensibly and showing us a man through Indraneil Sengupta (Neel) who handles the situation with much dignity when his wife is outed in front of him as a lesbian. However, there are instances in the show where the pace seemed slow, the twists were predictable, and the resolution to the conflicts didn’t happen with a bang, but it will not make you look away from your screens.

Human, directed by Vipul Amrutlal Shah and Mozez Singh is streaming now on Disney+ Hotstar.

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