If asked what we think of “Rudra: The Edge of Darkness” as a show, we would say that it’s quite good, and we were easily entertained for the six episodes of it. But now, it’s never that simple an opinion when you invest six hours in a story.
“Rudra: The Edge of Darkness” is an adaptation of the British series “Luther,” in which the title character was played by Idris Alba. The show follows highly intelligent criminals who seem impossible to catch for the average cop. But then you have a super cop on the scene, who sees what people miss and dares to take risks, going above and beyond, what we feel about the show, despite recognizing that it is entertaining and engaging, and that too, for the right reasons, has a lot to do with how remakes are made in India. But we will get to that in a bit.
What Is The Story of ‘Rudra: The Edge of Darkness’?
As stated before, “Rudra: The Edge of Darkness” is about extremely intelligent and suave people committing crimes and then getting caught by someone one step ahead of them in terms of intelligence and humanity. Rudra, the titular character, is the cop who is the best out there. He is very good at his job and has the trust and admiration of his department for that, though there is also an apprehension regarding his “mental state,” which is not addressed until the later episodes. We see that his marriage has ended, and his wife has moved on, though he is still in love with her. For once, if we were to see a brilliant detective onscreen, we would like to see him as someone who is capable of having well-adjusted relationships. It’s almost as if the silver screen refuses to break out of the prejudice that intelligence and emotion do not go together.
There is the character of Aliyah Choksi, played by Raashi Khanna, a sociopath who has murdered her own family and is the only one of Rudra’s suspects that he was not able to put behind bars. And they end up developing a rapport together, with Aliyah taking an active interest in the personal and professional life of Rudra.
Rudra’s ex-wife and her boyfriend, played by Esha Deol and Satyadeep Misra, are occasionally affected by Rudra’s cases and are always on the radar of Aliyah Choksi. Seeing both the actors on the screen makes us feel how underused Esha Deol is and how refreshing it was whenever Satyadeep Misra was in the scenes. They share a chemistry that was surprising, and we hope to see more of them going forward.
Major Spoilers Ahead
‘Rudra: The Edge of Darkness’ Ending Explained – How Did Rudra Catch Gautam Navlakha?
The ending, true to most crime shows, is about the detective solving a personal tragedy. We see that Rudra has been accused of the murder of his wife, Shaila Durrani, and he is out to prove his innocence and catch the real culprit. We already know that the real murderer is Gautam Navlakha, played by Atul Kulkarni. He was shown as being a good friend and confidant to Rudra in the previous episodes, so his betrayal comes at a personal cost. Shaila’s boyfriend, Rajiv, is convinced that Rudra is the killer and is completely grief-stricken. We see Rudra turning to Aliyah for help, as he believes you need a criminal to understand another criminal, and he has developed a certain wary rapport with her.
What follows is Rudra knowingly walking into a trap, to meet Gautam in the vicinity of the police, for him to provoke Rudra by referring to how he killed his wife and how she was crying out for him to save her. This leads Rudra to briefly lose his temper before he flees the scene. The following interrogation of Prabal by Raman leads to the realization within the police team that Gautam is the culprit.
In another scene, we see that Gautam was following Rajiv before he was cornered by Rudra, and they engaged in a fistfight. This is followed by him admitting to his crimes, which is recorded. When Gautam sees this, he flies into a rage and stabs Rudra, though immediately, in the next scene, Rajiv and Aliyah come out, and the latter shoots him. We can assume that Rudra makes it out of it alive, with his innocence established.
What Works And What Doesn’t?
What we liked the most about the show was its easy going quality, which we suspect wasn’t intentional but definitely works for it. Compared to other “gritty” thrillers on the block, “Rudra: The Edge of Darkness” is missing the “wow” factor, the thing that makes you go “damn, what did he think of that?”. Also, other than the one exception in the third episode, none of the villains are even remotely charming. They wasted this opportunity with Aliyah Choksi’s character, not to mention how liberal they got with our pet peeve-the overuse of unnecessarily deep dialogues-in the one episode that could have made her a fan favorite. Honestly, we thought it was an odd choice to let the criminal escape in the first episode itself, so when they were doing it, they should have better established the “charismatic genius” part of her rather than just saying it multiple times. This was a risk of sorts because, had Ajay Devgan not been playing the titular role, people would probably have lost interest in the series at this point.
Another issue we have with the show, and this is the most important one, is that it was not adequately tailored for Indian audiences. “Rudra: The Edge of Darkness” felt like “Luther” made it in Hindi, with some laziness and rushed Indianised tailoring. A show with such a good concept and a supremely talented cast has a lot of potential when you adapt it to a setting like India. But this show fell into the trap of relying on star power to make it work. This turned what could have been an excellent product into a heartbreakingly mediocre one.
But despite all our criticism, it’s always a delight to see Ajay Devgan in his brooding avatar saying the dialogues in his trademark husky voice. We were pleasantly surprised to see how much we liked Ashwini Kalsekar, who played Commissioner Deepali Handa. We had gotten so accustomed to seeing her in crazed roles on the small screen that seeing how well she fits into the role of an authoritative and dignified cop makes us feel that she has not quite gotten her due.
“Rudra: The Edge of Darkness” is a 2022 Indian Crime Thriller television series starring Ajay Devgn.