The plot begins with the major antagonist, Sassya (Vijay Varma) cherry picking prostitutes for his “sessions” – a seasoned regular as he seems to be. Within this catalogue of women, rather objects from his perspective, is our protagonist Bhumika (Aaditi Pohankar) albeit with the distinction of being a “freelancer”. Her cavalier attitude and rebellion allures him, as he is trapped for this is a conspiracy set by the police that will ultimately make the rest of the plot unravel. This sets the foregrounding for the rest of the seven part series. Much of the interactions within the film are also of a very similar nature, with the male characters shadowing over the female characters, speaking over them. While very rage-inducing, these interactions are not very far from the realities that many women fall prey to. These gazes lead to Bhumika awakening a strength that she never dared to look up, given the society’s narrow views. The clash between her discovery of sexuality and the male ego is what forms much of the plot.
The plot runs at a breakneck pace and there is never a moment you feel it loses its stride. Each episode begins with a different revelation and ends around a cliffhanger that serves as a background to the next episode. The conception of the lead character is done very cleverly – she has a certain rustic quality to her, but she is certainly subdued in the beginning of the character development. There is a constant, piercing gaze, much like sauron’s eye. For all the people watching, especially women, it will make chills run down your spine and make your blood boil. However, this is also where the plot fails us. There is almost a hyperbolic emphasis on her sexuality, bordering on mild erotica. Not much of her character is explored. There is a definite change in agency, but there is something definitely strange about it. The embrace of her sexuality is a product of patriarchy and is certainly strange to witness. An intense dynamic to her character, however, is that she is part of the force against oppression – i.e. the Police. However, she is powerless throughout much of the plot. She often resorts to the comforts of her routine, but a change is called upon. There was much more to the character, but not much was explored and that was a disappointment for me.
Much of the primary cast has done a very good role. Sassya and Bhoomika stand out as the stars of the whole series. The intense battle of the egos, between them forms much of the plot and they have left no stone unturned. There is a certain chemistry to both of them which was well exploited by the plot and the direction. It feels deviously convincing and Varma definitely deserves more of a space. Fernandez (Vishwas Kini), while a very important character, does not do much for the plot and the performance is only lukewarm. Rest of the cast includes Kishore Kumar G and Shivani Rangole among others. The colors are dark and sparse, reminiscent of a noir graphic novel set against the backdrop of Mumbai. The city serves as a major element of the plot, with multiple forays into it’s shady nature and fringe populations. The music score is similar and sits flush within the plot and it’s demands of setting an atmosphere that is particularly intense.
The theme of She is particularly “sexuality as a weapon” – among others. It is dark, edgy and intense, and the characters seem close to the fabric of reality. The plot takes some liberties with certain aspects, but that makes for a watch replete with pathos and a realization that this is the reality for some people. There should have been more female perspectives in the series, but that seems like a compromise to enhance the effects of the Male Ego. There are some important aspects that are explored and deserve to be talked about. Overall, She makes for an intriguing watch that is really binge worthy. Especially in these times as all of us are relegated to a life within the walls of our houses.