Kaala Paani 2023 / A Hindi survival thriller series that turns a simple pandemic into a multilayered meditation on utilitarianism, nature, and India’s mainlander-islander dynamics


There’s a lot happening in Netflix’s first Hindi survival thriller series Kaala Paani. The main plot follows the discovery of a new disease with inky rashes that confounds scientists and policymakers, which would remind viewers of the botched response towards COVID-19, but there are multiple subplots including a love story with a traumatized former nurse, a family drama between separated parents and children, and the ecological commentary on the indigenous population that survived the disease once before. But Kaala Paani is able to balance these plots, tweaking the series’ disease to visually carry the show’s science in order to dedicate more weight to each subplot. It allows showrunner Sameer Saxena to play with more philosophical themes, and allows his compelling cast to play with more complex and dynamic roles.

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