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Flesh Review: Stomach Churning Brutality In The Name Of Realism

Flesh(Eros  Now)

Starring Swara Bhaskar, Akshay Oberoi

Directed by Danish Aslam

Rating:**

Where  does  the depiction of  exploitation mutate  into a form of  exploitation itself? The answer is embedded in this sickeningly violent  8-episode series on human trafficking where  the  victims, all  children   and young women , are violated so  brutally and graphically that  after a point(in my case I’d say , around episode 3)  you just stop caring  about what happens to these  poor  tortured souls.

Beyond  the  pain,there is  the realization that there are some very sick people out there and some of  them may be  involved in  the making of this carnival of taunting torture and sadism. By the  time  Akshay Oberoi, all  decked up to shock  playing a crossdressing sadistic  flesh trader  named Taj  Dada, got down to be sodomised severely in a public toilet by a  white sidekick, I  was  ready to flee,as any sane person would be.

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 This is  not a series on human trafficking. It’s  a repertory  of gruesome sexual  violation that  includes  a sequence showing little children  being forced to watch porn. Wait , don’t throw  up yet.It gets worse with every  episode. If  I had pick the  most  reprehensible  image of sexual  violence ever  seen in Indian cinema  it would have to be the moment where a  sex trafficker  forces his  sidekick to perform  oral sex  on him(“tera mooh sirf ek kaam ke liye achcha hai”)  in the presence  of a little girl.

Like I said I got more worried  about the mental health  of the creative brains behind this bestially brutal series than the  grisly characters  who frogleap from  atrocity to atrocity  in  the hope of shocking us into a  gasping mass of trembling viewership.

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To be honest Flesh is  more disgusting than arresting.Swara Bhaskar as  flesh-trade buster- cop gets  groped early  in  the plot. She  braves the  vitiated air that the series breathes  in the hope of finding some sense in  the  depravity and  mayhem. She is  in a losing battle with  barbarism. Towards  the last   few episodes Akshay Oberoi and Swara Bhaskar are pitched against one  another in  a  twist of the plot that is  more far-fetched than fascinating.

Furiously implausible and  using the authentic card  as a  pretext for perverse  violence Flesh is  a  monstrous misfire  where two parallel  stories of two missing girls  come  together in an unexpected twist of fate. But sorry,  we have seen this  twist  in  the Manoj Bajpai starrer Gali Guleiyan already. As  for brutal  films about  the flesh trade, try Nagesh Kukunoor’s Laxmi which is violent and brutal but never gratuitous and  exploitative.

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 Right at  the  start  of  Flesh  a kindly Sardarji is savagely shot in the head. I  felt  relieved for him. At least he  was spared the rest  of  the  subhuman  violence .

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