Feast of entertainment

Chorki’s gamble with speculative fiction really pays off

By Salman Sakib Jishan

Chorki, the most popular streaming platform in our country right now, began its journey in 2021 with a surprising move. They decided to dive into speculative fiction, a genre unfamiliar to most Bangladeshis. Speculative fiction is a mix of things like horror, science fiction, reality, and metaphors that create stories that are not entirely real but not completely unrealistic either.

All the tales within Unoloukik hail from the pen of one of our nation’s most promising science fiction authors: Shibabrata Barman. The series is directed by Robiul Alam Robi and features well-known actors like Asaduzzaman Noor, Chanchal Chowdhury, Nusrat Imrose Tisha, Intekhab Dinar, Rafiath Rashid Mithila, Mostafa Monwar, Iresh Zaker, and Shohel Mondol, and others.

It was a bold move to introduce such a unique concept on a streaming platform, especially with lesser-known topics. Many viewers were not familiar with these kinds of stories, so making them understandable to everyone was a big challenge. However, the response from the audience was overwhelming, making Unoloukik an instant hit on Chorki. This success showed that people crave good stories and high-quality production, and they don’t want to see the same stories over and over again.

Unoloukik is an anthology series with five episodes: “Moribar Holo Tar Shwaad,” “Don’t Write Me,” “Mrs Prohelika,” “Hello Ladies,” and “Dwikhondito.” Each episode tells a different story.  The first episode unfolds the story of a suicidal man who rediscovers the value of life through a perilous meal. “Don’t Write Me” explores a man’s unusual demand for a writer to script his life, a tale where his life mirrors the script. In the third episode, a woman engages in a dialogue with her psychologist, claiming to have committed suicide while still being trapped in a dream. The fourth episode ventures into metaphorical territory, where a reality show host breaks the fourth wall, witnessing a man on camera who has just committed a heinous crime. The fifth episode is the best episode of this series. Intekhab Dinar performs a superhuman performance in a 23-minute dialogue in one shot, where his character goes to a police station and claims that he is present at the police station at the moment, and at the same time he is robbing a bank. The series covers various genres, from death to psychology to science and crime, and each episode is only 25 minutes long.

The stories are interesting and sometimes dark, appealing to a wide audience. They cleverly use metaphors, social and political themes, and dark humor. While some viewers may identify occasional flaws in the construction, such as traditional genre tropes that may feel out of place, the compelling stories and great acting overshadow any imperfections. Unoloukik is considered by many as Chorki’s best work.

Although Unoloukik is not without its issues, it’s a groundbreaking series in Bangladesh, introducing viewers to a new kind of storytelling. While there are similar series abroad like Black Mirror and Love, Death & Robots, Unoloukik is a bold and innovative step for the local audience.

This series deserves discussion, appreciation, and constructive criticism. This way, creators in our country will be encouraged to keep presenting fresh and diverse stories.

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